Appraisals have changed a lot since 2006 when Derventio Education started to initially develop SchooliP.
The Appraisal functionality then aligned with the Education Act 2002 when the Government introduced appraisals into education as a tool to hold teachers to account. This evolved with performance-related pay with measurable and numerical objectives. A high stakes culture is developed when there is a strong focus on objectives driven by numerical data. So many variables influence the performance of a student and not just the performance of one teacher leading to an undermining of teachers’ morale and motivation.
In recent years many educational organisations have been rethinking and transforming the appraisal process from an accountable to a more developmental model. This shift in culture necessitates a clear understanding of what good practice looks like, with well-defined expectations for staff and a greater emphasis on coaching and professional dialogue. It encourages teachers to be professionally accountable and achieve their contribution to the school priorities.
The aim is for colleagues to feel empowered, to engage, and be inspired in the appraisal process, and to focus on: reflection, strengths, areas for improvement and aspirations. Shifting the conversation to reflection and professional development creates a culture where every single colleague strives to improve. This is the direction that many organisations in our SchooliP community are now choosing to take.
Professional discussions or ‘check-ins’ have become regular and ongoing. It is no longer just setting targets, mid-year review and an end of year evaluation. These discussions focus on why and how classroom learning is progressing, identify potential barriers to learning, as well as what is happening to the teachers themselves.
Appraisers develop a climate of trust and support that empowers the teachers. They listen, probe, ask pertinent questions and allow time to reflect and provide meaningful feedback
Lesson observations are usually replaced by frequent, short lesson ‘drop-ins’. These create a more accurate picture and give ‘typicality’ of performance over time. ‘Drop-ins’ are conducted not just by the leadership, but also by peers which all adds to getting a clearer understanding of teaching and learning.
Professional development is at the very core of developing colleagues and those who attend CPD take time to reflect and evaluate, informing how, if appropriate, it can be disseminated to other colleagues. Continued professional learning is crucial to improving student outcomes and must be relevant to the context of the organisation, and the colleagues themselves. For improvement strategies to work, they must not only meet the particular needs of the organisation but also be personalised to an individuals development needs.
If you are on this journey of change from an accountability approach to a developmental approach, feel free to make contact and allow us to work in partnership with you to develop your SchooliP system. Professional learning and objectives are at their most effective when they are clearly aligned to the organisation’s context and are rooted in a regular routine of reflection, review and refocusing. This not only puts the development of the professional at the centre of the conversation but also encourages that individual to actively participate in establishing an understanding of their strengths and areas of development.
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