Rethinking Appraisal in Education for 100% Positive Change

by | Oct 19, 2022 | Leadership, Wellbeing

Rethinking Appraisal in Education for 100% Positive Change

Rethinking appraisal is one of the most positive leadership decisions you can make. Creating the right approach where appraisal is more than just performance management is the key. The appraisal cycle should be absolutely built on defining a culture where each member of staff knows their strengths and what they need to do to improve in relation to their own practice, how they work seamlessly as part of a team and their role as an integral part of achieving the vision and realising the school improvement plan.

Talk, plan and believe in positive change through appraisal

Staff and pupil well-being is high on the agenda at the moment and for many returning to normal in how individuals react to school life and the many challenges that still remain is difficult. Performance management is undoubtedly a top-down process. Leaders make decisions, have preconceived notions and determine what their teams need to achieve based on their own accountabilities and needs. This can lead to more stress, a lack of self-belief and a feeling that there is no incentive to improve and grow in their role.

All staff need to understand the vision and the part they play in achieving it. They must be able to set their own goals and articulate their strengths and gaps in learning to define their own professional development needs. If this happens there is a change of culture that is both infectious and meaningful and begins to create a well-informed and highly motivated staff that work together to achieve the high-quality outcomes that are essential to the vision.

Rethinking Appraisal using the power of coaching as the driver for change and challenge

Where senior, middle and subject leaders in education learn how to coach they build a range of skills that will inspire individuals within their sphere of influence to take risks with their teaching, solve their own problems, innovate with their planning and reflect on the learning that results. A coach learns to trust others with the vision and allows individuals and teams to find their own pioneering solutions, focus on priorities and treat time with respect. A coach is non-judgmental, non-directive and is never quick to criticise; their role is to encourage reflection on what is working well and build from there to ensure a process of continuing improvement and learning.

Incisive questioning and deep listening for challenge and change

A coach develops a range of skills that will create the right approach to preparing and conducting the interview and opportunities for post appraisal feedback and feed forward sessions. Learning how to listen actively builds trust and ensure the coach knows the aspirations and goals of those being appraised. Developing the skill to ask deep and incisive questions that challenge and probe individuals to be clear about their ambition for change, challenge, excellence and improvement. Also, the skills associated with influencing others to move out of their comfort zone, be ambitious in their thinking and ambitious with their pedagogy and classroom management.

Rethinking appraisal fosters professional development

Set your staff alight with powerful learning

Continuing professional development (CPD) should be at the forefront of every part of a school development plan and the approach to appraisal should be to ensure that the process is designed to ensure every member of staff is able to discuss their own professional development needs linked to their role and the part they play in achieving the vision, ambition and rationale for curriculum design and implementation.

The Education Endowment Foundation have recently published A guidance report: Effective Professional Development which recommends that schools should focus on,

  • Focus on the mechanisms such as revisiting prior learning, goal setting, providing incisive feedback and action planning
  • Ensure professional development builds knowledge, motivates staff, develops teaching techniques and embeds practice
  • Implement professional development with care, taking into consideration the context and needs of the school

The above are a manifesto for rethinking appraisal to check that the three recommendations above are integral to how the process will lead to continuing professional learning.

The Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development devised by the Department for Education in 2016 want to see,

Continuing professional development unlocks potential
  • Professional development must be prioritised by senior leadership
  • Professional development should focus on improving and evaluating pupil outcomes
  • Professional development should be underpinned by robust evidence and expertise
  • Professional development should include collaboration and expert challenge
  • Professional development should be sustained over time

Most of the above also need to be taken into consideration when focusing on ensuring appraisal has an impact on pupil outcomes, evaluates teacher performance using robust evidence and expertise and that the professional development needs that emerge are prioritised by senior leaders. The fourth bullet links closely to the opportunity to embrace coaching as the most powerful way to ensure collaboration and expert challenge lead to positive and meaningful change.

Be ahead of the curve as you rethink appraisal

Be ahead of the curve and use our course – Re-thinking Appraisal in Education for Positive and Effective Change Buy a ready to use 5 unit package that you can dip into any time to read, listen, watch and learn. Be a part of a live webinar with one of our expert coaches or join us next year at one of our events in prestigious cities and venues.

Making the decision to put appraisal and the professional development that flows from it at the heart of the school improvement plan will have an impact. Using coaching where high level professional learning conversations, a culture of trust and self-belief and a system where every member of staff is focused on the part they play in creating high-quality outcomes for all reaps a motivated and happy team where coming to school or college is a pleasure.

I would love to hear from you,
Glynis Frater, Learning Cultures Limited, 01746 765076 / 07974754241

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