Teacher Appraisal Update

January 25th, 2012

On 24 January 2012 the Education (School Teachers’ Appraisal) (England) Regulations 2012 were laid before Parliament. Shortly before this, the Department for Education published ‘Teacher Appraisal and Capability: A Model Policy for Schools’.

The combined effect of the Regulations and the Model Policy, both of which come into force on 1 September 2012, is to make a number of changes to the way in which teachers are appraised and are monitored prior to removal. The Regulations include the following:

•Governing bodies and local authorities will have to have a written appraisal policy for their teachers;
•Governing bodies will have to appoint an external adviser to advise them with appraising the head teacher;
•Objectives will have to be set for each teacher which contribute to improving the education of pupils;
•Schools will have to have an annual appraisal process for teachers;
•Teachers will have to be given a written appraisal report which sets out: an assessment of their performance; an assessment of their training and development needs; where relevant, a recommendation on pay progression;
•Teachers’ performance will be assessed against the relevant standards, against their objectives and against their role in the school. Under the current arrangements, the standards are seen merely as a “backdrop” to performance management discussions;
•Most of the prescription in the current regulations will disappear, including the three hour limit on classroom observation. After September 2012, governing bodies and local authorities will be free to make their own decisions about the amount of observation that is appropriate for their teachers. They will also be free to decide many other matters on which they currently have no flexibility.

The Model Policy removes an informal capability process and the suggested length of the monitoring and review period following a first warning has been reduced in length from 20 weeks to between 4-10 weeks. It is important to note that the length of the review period must be reasonable in the circumstances of each case, and must provide sufficient time for improvement to take place. This was the main headline from the Department’s press release, but is counterbalanced by the requirement of compliance with the ACAS Code and that any monitoring period be set by reference to a reasonable and proportionate length of time.

For more comment on the changes see this LexisNexis news article.

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