As a teacher, you will be expected to be capable of delivering against a set of objectives related to the Teaching Standards and the performance of your school. If your appraisal and feedback processes are suggesting that you are not, your school will have a capability procedure to resolve this. This should never come as a surprise, and should follow support to help you improve. The process of going through capability procedures can be stressful, and it is important that you are supported to ensure fair treatment.

The legal picture

For maintained schools in England The Education (School Teachers’ Appraisal) (England) Regulations 2012 outline capability legislation. This is supported by a DfE model policy. The policy is based on ACAS guidance that applies to all employees.

The Employment Rights Act 1996, Section 98, will underpin the process an employer should follow when investigating a disciplinary or capability issue.

The process

Your school will have a capability procedure in conjunction with the appraisal process.

Policies may vary, but following national guidelines, they are likely to incorporate an informal and a formal stage. The informal stage can consist of the appraisal process, in which you are informed of any concerns and these concerns are recorded.

The process should provide you with opportunities to improve. If your line manager or head teacher believes you have not shown signs of improvement despite measures put in place through the appraisal process, you will first be invited to a formal capability meeting. This will be followed by a monitoring period, during which you should still be supported to make progress.

If, following a review meeting and a final written warning, you are not able to show progress, you may be invited to a final decision meeting. During this meeting it is decided whether a recommendation should be made to the governing body or local authority for you to be dismissed.


If you are concerned about feedback from your appraisal process, or are facing competency procedures and would like support, edapt can provide HR and legal advice to ensure you are treated fairly. If you feel you are facing unfair dismissal, or have been unfairly dismissed as a result of mis-management of capability procedures, edapt can provide legal representation.

Next steps

Sign up to edapt services for a wealth of HR advice at your fingertips. Once you have signed up, simply pick up the phone, email or contact us through live internet chat to answer any questions about capability. For more information about our services, click here: For teachers.

Infographic source: GTC, ‘Annual report on registration and regulation 2010-11’ (The GTC regulated teachers 1998 - 2011. It was superseded by the Teaching Agency in England. The Teaching Agency does not hear capability cases.