How can you run an effective appraisal?
About this time of year, mid-year appraisal reviews will start appearing on your to-do list. You will already have had regular informal conversations with your staff but there should be a more formal moment when you sit down together and discuss whether they are on track to reach their targets and what support you can give to help.
10 tips for appraisal success
Here are some tips for making the appraisal process as positive and productive as possible.
1. Timing is everything
Your school may allocate a time when you are supposed to complete your reviews such as a twilight slot or an INSET day. If this doesn’t happen, have a conversation with each colleague over the review timing.
You need some quiet undisturbed time without the constant interruptions of every day school life. Some colleagues will wish to use their PPA time; others may suggest lunchtime and others straight after school. You want your colleague to be at their most comfortable to have that productive conversation.
2. Push the paper
Collect the paperwork in advance. You need your original documents and the next proforma (if the mid-year review is on a different sheet). Ensure your colleague has copies of them in advance of the meeting.
3. Watch and learn
If a lesson observation is part of the process, ensure you have a recent one available from your school’s quality assurance process. If there isn’t one then complete one yourself before the meeting or ask a senior leader if they will help.
4. Collect the data
Yes, the dreaded data but performance data needs to be collected. It is likely that one of the targets will be around pupil progress so you need the most recent data relating to the identified class.
In a primary school you will be looking at which children will make their age related expectation in reading, writing and numeracy but also have a look at their progress in other subject areas. In a secondary school your key focus will be on Year 11 or Year 13 groups but also look at the progress of other years too. Again ensure your colleague has this data in advance too.
5. Look at the evidence
How does this data triangulate with the books? You need to have evidence of a recent work scrutiny and again this can be from your school’s quality assurance process.
6. Consider the targets
Prior to the meeting look at all the information to consider if your colleague is on-track to meet their targets. If you have doubts, before the meeting seek advance from another leader as to what their view is and even plan the conversation that you will have.
7. Consider the support needed
Identify what support you can offer the colleague or what could be done to ensure pupils are on target. Are appropriate interventions being used? How are children grouped for these? Are the right children attending?
If there are issues in teaching, could you or another colleague give some focussed support? Perhaps you could do a weekly 15 minute observation followed by a 15 minute coaching conversation to support them for the next month? Are there support mechanisms in the school, which could also be used?
9. Keep on track
During the meeting try and keep the conversation as focussed as you can. Your colleague may be unhappy with whole school targets and feel they are too challenging. It is not your place to go over this but instead look at anything you can do to decrease the gap from current performance to target.
Ensure that your colleague feels supported so talk about what ‘we’ can do or what actions ‘we’ can take.
10. Say thank you
Remember to thank your colleague for their hard work over the school year so far and for everything they will do over the year months to come.
I think key to any staffing conversation is the preparation that you do before the meeting. Hence the focus of these ten tips is ensuring you go into the meeting with everything to hand and hopefully the appraisal conversation will be smooth and productive.