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The appraisal process in schools has slowly changed shape into one that is less focused on ‘performance management’ and more focused on person and organisational development.

Regardless of the size of school, replacing Word documents and Office 365 processes with something that provides intelligent data can have a real impact in the development of staff.

Lessons Learned has been developed to ensure all staff have input into their own appraisal process, encouraging links to be made between the developmental goals of the school and the individual staff involved. In this post we discuss the steps that can be taken to ensure a truly developmental process for staff.

a grid showing progress towards the objectives set for staff in a schoool
Quick reports to show progress towards objectives/goals.

Lessons Learned doesn’t just streamline the appraisal process; it provides a solid foundation for meaningful discussions. Appraisers can leverage the system to focus on developmental feedback derived from Quality Assurance (Deep Dives, ‘even better ifs’ etc..) and other areas of school development. This ensures that appraisal discussions are not only comprehensive but also tailored to each individual’s growth areas.

Put staff in control of their own target settings

ask staff to identify targets for themselves – encourage them to link them back to school development targets and their own professional development notes (EBIs, Development Points, etc.)

Development Notes for a school.
Summary reports of development notes given to staff.

Use templates to guide staff on which areas of focus they might use for their targets and ensure that all targets are linked back to the priorities your School or Multi-Academy Trust have for your staff.

Gather feedback and suggestions on professional learning

During the process of identifying targets and goals your staff will all have something they feel would support them in achieving those goals. Lessons Learned allows staff to highlight their professional learning needs and requests as part of their appraisal process. Each of their requests is logged in a central place for a CPD co-ordinator to address as they see fit.

Any professional learning staff undertake can be linked back to their targets as evidence of their progress towards it – evaluations of CPD and certificates ensure there’s clear evidence of impact and achievement.

Self and Peer-Review to inform the process

Many schools place real weight on role-based standards to identify areas of development, a tool which encourages focused self-review against those standards is important to their effective use in the development cycle.

Lessons Learned allows a 360 review process to take place, where staff and their appraisers can undertake self and peer reviews of practice to identify consensus on the areas most in need of development. Multiple frameworks can be used to ensure everyone is reviewing against elements relevant to their role.

This information instantly appears in reports showing the current state of your organisation. Comparisons can be made between each round of reviews to ensure that progress continues to be made.


Radar Chart showing a self-review against the teacher standards
Teacher Standards Radar Chart

Evidence-based target setting

Links can be drawn between the various development activities you undertake. Targets can be linked back to development planning at school and department level as well as the areas for development identified during self-review, Quality Assurance and professional learning processes.

Staff can add notes and resources against their goals to show how they are working towards them. Any staff working on upper thresholds are able to add additional information and justification to address the requirements of their role.

Consider coaching

Lessons Learned can also support a coaching process to replace or complement the appraisal process. The coaching process in schools has been proven to be impactful in the development of staff as both Coachees and Coaches.

One of the keys to a successful coaching process is a transparent, focused and efficient process where the Moderator(s) have clear oversight. Whether you have a single Moderator or multiple ones with their own areas of responsibility, you can ensure they have access to the data they need to attend to their role successfully.

Collaborative Professional Learning

Everyone has their strengths and coaching makes the most of those. Lessons Learned ensures you can identify those strengths and ensure staff share them with others. Combining data from Quality Assurance with elements such as CPD and Appraisal Objectives ensures you can celebrate the successes in your organisation.

Focussed feedback for everyone 

Modules of the system combine to give staff an area for storing professional development notes, professional learning logs and coaching goals. Coachees always have access to their own information and can use it to develop their progress by revisiting development notes and evidencing their completion. Separate meeting logs can be customised to capture different types of discussion and later reported on to ensure Moderators can be sure everyone has had a positive experience within the coaching programme.

a grid showing a summary of appraisal meetings within a school.
Summary data for meetings within the process.


1 Module2 Modules3 Modules4 Modules5 Modules
1 Year£655/year£875/year£975/year£1075/year£1175/year
3 Year£555/year£775/year£875/year£975/year£1075/year
Prices are exclusive of VAT. First year set up fee applies (between £200 - £250, depending on modules taken).
1 Year£755/year£975/year£1075/year£1175/year£1275/year
3 Year£655/year£875/year£975/year£1075/year£1175/year
Prices are exclusive of VAT. First year set up fee applies (between £300 - £350, depending on modules taken).



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