Capability procedures in school


Being placed on capability procedures in school can be a stressful experience for teaching staff.

As a teacher, you will be expected to reach certain targets and objectives with your classes. These targets would have been agreed in your appraisals with your head of department or line manager. You are potentially at risk of being placed on capability procedures if you do not consistently meet your targets and are under performing in your role.

Why might I be put on capability procedures?

ACAS explains if you are not meeting your employer’s standards, the employer should investigate the situation before deciding on the next step to take.

If there is concern you are not achieving the targets and objectives either set specifically for you, or wider school ones applicable to all staff, then your line manager may invite you to discuss these aspects or your performance.

The capability procedures and process should initially be viewed by you and the school as providing a framework and process to support you to improve your performance.

You might also be placed on a teacher support plan. We have published another article which explains what to expect when being placed a support plan and links to examples.

Any underperformance due to continued or disruptive absence would be addressed under other appropriate policies and procedures. You need to be aware that if the application of the capability procedures fails to secure sufficient improvement in your performance then it may lead to your dismissal.

Capability procedures: what is the process?

Your school will have documented capability procedures policy. You will need to read it and understand it. There will be a formal meeting to discuss your perceived deficiency in performance, backed up with evidence or witness statements. At the conclusion of the meeting you will normally be given a specific list of areas of improvements linked to targets to be achieved within a specified timespan.

At the end of that time you will be invited to a second meeting that will review your level of achievement. If you have successfully achieved the targets set for improvement then no further action is likely. However, if you have not achieved the improvements targets set, then depending on the particular circumstances, either a further period of improvement will be set or dismissal proceedings may commence.

Notification of the meeting

As it will be a formal meeting it will need to comply with school policies and procedures. The notification should contain sufficient information around the concerns about your performance and the possible consequences to enable you to prepare to answer the case at the formal meeting. It will also provide normally five days notice of the time and place of the meeting and contain copies of any written evidence.

Capability procedures: what will happen at the meeting?

The meeting will allow you to respond to the concerns expressed about your performance. This may provide new information or a different context to that already presented to you by the school.

If the person holding the meeting still considers that you still need to improve your performance then at this meeting you should be able to discuss and agree the areas for improvement, the way that improvement will be measured, and the timescale within which you will be given to effect the improvement, and any support or training that you may need to enable you to improve your performance.

However, if mutual agreement cannot be reached, then you can expect the above matters will be imposed upon you. The timescale set for improvement is usually around a six to eight week period.

What happens during the improvement period?

You need to ensure that you fully understand what is expected of you, and how your improvement will be measured and by whom. Make sure that you have all the support or training that may have been discussed and agreed a the formal meeting.

If you consider that some or all of this is not happening then you need to raise this with the headteacher as soon as possible. Keep your own notes of what you have been doing and have achieved that demonstrate your improved performance.

Further information

If you have been placed on capability procedures and are concerned about your future employment you contact us for further advice and support.

Was this article helpful?

The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.