Once the final review meeting has been held new objectives for the next appraisal cycle should be set. Not only should the objectives be set but CPD needs should be identified and agreed, as soon as possible after the start of the appraisal cycle. This will allow the appraisee the maximum time to work towards meeting the objectives with the appropriate support. Often, the objective setting meeting immediately follows the final review meeting.
There are a number of expectations that should be met to ensure that valuable and relevant objectives are set. The objectives should be:
- aligned with the school’s priorities and plans;
- appropriate for the teacher’s role and level of experience;
- fair and equitable relative to teachers with similar roles/responsibilities and experience in school;
- consistent with a genuine desire to allow teachers a work/life balance;
- set against the Teachers’ Standards and reflect the appraisee’s professional aspirations;
- SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.
Having too many objectives is likely to dilute the impact of appraisal. We recommend three objectives, carefully considered and planned for, as the optimum number which will result in effective appraisal. It is important that the objectives are tested against school priorities to ensure that appraisal addresses school improvement appropriately.
In setting the objectives it is important to identify how success will be apparent (if qualitative) and measured (if quantifiable).
There are occasions where the school sets an overall objective for all staff. This can be very effective, but the school should give careful consideration before doing so and ensure that:
- such an objective is applicable to all;
- it is not so broad that it loses meaning.
The best appraisal is open and honest and carried out in a school culture that supports staff development.