A Flexible Approach to #Threshold


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How do you demonstrate that your teaching ability is highly competent, substantial and sustained?

This blog receives a surprisingly high number of views and requests for exemplar documentation. Context is needed, because every school will have a different Pay Policy and not every school will require you to complete a separate threshold application. Please note the date of this post and also that details will change according to national and local policies.

Perhaps this post will allow teachers to flex their muscles when applying for Threshold this year? This is our approach to whole-school Threshold applications in my current place of work. It may prove useful for others.

n.b. The images are used in jest, to insinuate teachers flexing their muscles and showcasing what they have achieved.

 

 Photo Credit: istolethetv via Compfight cc
Do you have what it takes to flex your muscle at Threshold level?
Photo Credit: istolethetv via Compfight cc 

Context:

 

This is certainly not the only ‘how to do it’ model, but will serve as an example for those who are stuck in the application process; for schools who are unsure about what others are doing; and also act an opportunity for the reader to comment and provide feedback.

The content here, is not about (PRP) Performance Related Pay, or the intricate details and politics that come with it. This post is a template for teachers and schools who are looking to provide support for their staff progressing from M6 (Main Pay Scale) to the UPS 1-3 Upper Pay Scale Threshold criteria.

A useful signpost, is the PRP journey highlighted here, in @HeadGuruTeacher‘s school in Chelmsford.

Just like Headteacher, Tom Sherrington, we have modified our Pay Policy to mirror and broadly be in line with the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD). We are an academy. Tom also outlines a meaningful argument called “Psycho vs Wimp: The PRP Debate” which further presents all considerations on this matter; far more than I can offer.

We, as a school, also recognise that observations form part of the process, as well as a deep and significant participation in CPD (Continued Professional Development); in and out of a teacher’s department, as well as a wider contribution to the whole school, beyond that defined in a teacher’s contract.

In all terminology, the application procedures below, refer to the latest Teacher Standards.

What guidance do you need? Photo Credit: sea turtle via Compfight cc
What Threshold guidance do you need? Photo Credit: sea turtle via Compfight cc 

Guidance:

When starting an application, we ask teachers to refer to the school’s Pay Policy, as well as the national framework for Teacher Standards. All threshold applications are completed, to provide evidence for decisions on pay progression in three main areas.

  • Part 1 – Teaching; progress; observations.
  • Part 2 – CPD; dissemination of good practice; and
  • Part 3 – Wider school contributions and professional standards.

This evidence, together with an appraiser recommendation to the Principal, will allow the process to commence as stated in the table below. The final decisions on any award will be made by the Principal.

We also find that the following definitions and backdrop provide teachers with a very useful benchmark.

Definitions:

What Threshold level are you being awarded? Photo Credit: istolethetv via Compfight cc
What Threshold level are you being awarded? Photo Credit: istolethetv via Compfight cc 

We believe the following differentiated scales offer teachers clear guidance during the application process.

UPS3: “Highly competent”:  the teacher’s performance is assessed as having excellent depth and breadth of knowledge, skill and understanding of the Teachers’ Standards in the particular role they are fulfilling and the context in which they are working.

UPS2: “Substantial”:  the teacher’s achievements and contribution to the school are significant, not just in raising standards of teaching and learning in their own classroom, or with their own groups of children, but also in making a significant wider contribution to school improvement, which impacts on pupil progress and the effectiveness of staff and colleagues.

UPS1: “Sustained”:  the teacher must have had two consecutive successful appraisal reports in this school and have made good progress towards their objectives during this period (see exceptions in the pay policy).  They will have been expected to have shown that their teaching expertise has grown over the relevant period and is consistently good to outstanding.

The process:

Below is the procedure for applying for progression onto the Upper Pay Scale.

We have just modified this and hopefully streamlined the process for all staff.

Procedure for applying for progression onto the Upper Pay Scale:
Procedure for applying for progression onto the Upper Pay Scale:

Our policy:

Our school policy at the time of writing.

  • This section outlines the process for pay of teachers on the upper pay scale (UPS)
  • The school will operate an upper pay scale of three points reflecting the reference points in STPCD guidance.
  • This scale will be published annually by the school.
  • To qualify for UPS a teacher must meet the standards set out in STPCD 17.2.  These are understood to mean, that the teacher will be securing student progress that is beyond expectations for the school through teaching that is ‘consistently Good and often Outstanding’, and be making a significant wider contribution to the life and work of the school or the team(s) within which they work; which will normally include some coaching, mentoring or support of other colleagues or trainees.  This will be evident from appraisal reviews.  In addition, the teacher will need to have been paid at point 6 of the main scale for at least one year.
  • To apply for progression onto the UPS a teacher must, in the light of his/her appraisal review which is likely to support that progression on the basis of the criteria above, formally tell the Principal in writing, that they wish their appraisal review to be used as evidence for progression onto the UPS no later than 31 October.  In addition they must provide evidence of the quality of teaching, student achievement and wider contribution to the school that they wish to be considered.  They may also submit any additional evidence to the Principal that they wish.  The detailed procedure and guidance for making an application is at Appendix One of the Pay Policy. The Principal will use information from the appraisal review and other performance indications to make a decision.
  • A teacher will be eligible for progression to UPS2 and UPS3 after two years on UPS1 or UPS2 respectively, providing that their appraisal review indicates that they are sustaining and developing their ‘consistently Good or increasingly Outstanding teaching’, high levels of student achievement and significant wider achievement to the school, including through mentoring, coaching or support.  Teachers must also formally tell the Principal in writing, that they wish their appraisal review to be considered as evidence for this progression no later than 31 October.  The Principal will use information from the appraisal review and other performance indications to make a decision.
Are you in a position to apply for Threshold? Photo Credit: sea turtle via Compfight cc
Are you in a position to apply for Threshold? Photo Credit: sea turtle via Compfight cc

Application:

Our application itself, is broken into three main parts; all condensed and taken from the Teacher Standards.

Part 1 – Teaching’ Progress; Observations:

This section covers:

Set goals that stretch and challenge pupils of all backgrounds, abilities and dispositions; be accountable for pupils’ attainment, progress and outcomes; promote a love of learning and children’s intellectual curiosity; contribute to the design and provision of an engaging curriculum within the relevant subject area(s); have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with SEN; those of high ability; those with EAL; those with disabilities; and be able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them; know and understand how to assess the relevant subject and curriculum areas, including statutory assessment requirements.

We ask for hard evidence; a written statement measuring the impact; and we provide staff with exemplar evidence and suggestions.

Part 2 CPD; Dissemination of good practice.:

This section covers:

Take responsibility for improving teaching through professional development, responding to advice & feedback from colleagues; develop effective professional relationships with colleagues, knowing how and when to draw on advice and specialist support. Have a secure knowledge of the relevant subject(s) and curriculum areas, foster and maintain pupils’ interest in the subject, and address misunderstandings; demonstrate a critical understanding of developments in the subject and curriculum areas, and promote the value of scholarship; know and understand how to assess the relevant subject and curriculum areas, including statutory assessment requirements.

We ask for hard evidence; a written statement measuring the impact; and we provide staff with exemplar evidence and suggestions.

Part 3 – Wider school contributions and Professional standards: 

This section covers:

Treat pupils with dignity, building relationships rooted in mutual respect, and at all times observing proper boundaries appropriate to a teacher’s professional position. Having regard for the need to safeguard pupils’ well-being, in accordance with statutory provisions. Ensure that personal beliefs are not expressed in ways which exploit pupils’ vulnerability or might lead them to break the law. Maintain good relationships with pupils and staff, exercise appropriate authority, and act decisively when necessary. Have high expectations of behaviour, and establish a framework for discipline with a range of strategies, using praise, sanctions and rewards consistently and fairly; communicate effectively with parents with regard to pupils’ achievements and well-being; deploy support staff effectively. Have proper and professional regard for the ethos, policies and practices of the school in which they teach and maintain high standards in their own attendance and punctuality. Have an understanding of, and always act within, the statutory frameworks which set out their professional duties and responsibilities.

We ask for hard evidence; a written statement measuring the impact; and we provide staff with exemplar evidence and suggestions.

Are you ready to apply for Threshold? Photo Credit: Wigwam Jones via Compfight cc
Are you ready to apply for Threshold? Photo Credit: Wigwam Jones via Compfight cc 

Download:

If you think you are ready to apply, take a look at our simplified template and make sure you refer to the Teacher Standards. You can download a copy of our template here: Threshold Application – Proforma version 4

Good luck and get flexing!

 


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