September and October are normally the months when the appraisal process requires most attention in schools. Final reviews take place, objectives are set for the new cycle and pay recommendations are made (by the October 31st deadline of course!).
The final review is the end point to the annual appraisal process although performance against objectives, standards and development priorities should have taken place on a regular basis throughout the year. It is important that there are no surprises at the final review meeting and this is unlikely to be the case if an open and honest approach to staff performance is in place in school.
The appraisal report should include:
- details of the teacher’s objectives for the appraisal period in question;
- an assessment of the teacher’s performance (taking into account their role and responsibilities) against their objectives and the relevant standards. Schools must look carefully at their policy on how to determine success in this regard and make sure all staff understand it;
- an assessment of the teacher’s professional development needs and identification of any action that should be taken to address them;
- an assessment of the teacher’s areas of strength, to be shared where appropriate with colleagues;
- a recommendation on pay where that is relevant (NB – pay recommendations need to be made by 31st December for headteacher and by 31st October for other teachers);
- space for the teacher’s own comments.
The assessment of performance and of professional development needs should be used to inform the planning process for the following appraisal period.
Above all else, the final review must be rooted in evidence, be fair and honest and reflect the performance of the appraisee accurately. If that happens then staff will be happy to move into the next appraisal cycle.