You are here:

  • How giving up lesson observations cut SLT workload by more than half: case study Senior leaders at Lavender Primary School saved themselves 8.5 hours a term when they stopped formal lesson observations 2 years ago. This also improved teacher wellbeing, boosted retention, and kept teaching standards high. Find out how they did it, and how you can too.
  • Learning walk: how to spot effective questioning Use our learning walk template to help you identify a key feature of high-quality teaching – effective questioning.
  • Learning walks: how-to guide Plan and carry out a successful learning walk with our downloadable checklist, and use our suggested questions to interrogate the evidence and come up with future actions.
  • Learning walks: templates Use our downloadable template to carry out a learning walk that covers key areas of provision and takes into account Ofsted inspection criteria. There are also more specific templates for learning walks that focus on the EYFS, SEN provision, behaviour and the school environment.
  • Lesson observation form based on the Ofsted framework Ofsted doesn't expect you to use its inspection criteria to grade lessons. However, if you want to refer to it when carrying out lesson observations, including for EYFS lessons, use our template forms.
  • Lesson observations: how-to guide and templates UpdatedGet to grips with how to carry out successful lesson observations. Use our lesson observation templates, 2 of which are based on Ofsted inspection criteria, our template feedback form for staff, and a spreadsheet to keep track of observations throughout the school year.
  • Observing EYFS teaching: what to look for Be clear on what effective teaching looks like, and find examples of prompts to help you when carrying out lesson observations.
  • Proforma for observing teaching assistants Use our downloadable proforma for observing teaching assistants (TAs) to help you maximise their impact in your school. The proforma draws on the professional standards for TAs.
Show all articles
Show all articles
  • Career stage expectations for senior leaders Are there any career stage expectation grids for senior leaders? We worked with one of our associate education experts to produce illustrative career stage expectations for deputy and assistant headteachers and SENCOs. You will also find leaders’ standards from a school.
  • Headteachers' Standards: summary Read our summary of the Headteachers' Standards 2020 and how to use them.
  • Performance management of EYFS teachers All teachers in maintained schools must be assessed against the Teachers’ Standards, including EYFS teachers. See guidance on assessing EYFS teachers in maintained schools and academies, and read a summary of the early years Teachers' Standards.
  • Professional standards for SBMs There are no required standards you must use when appraising school business managers, but you may find ISBL's standards helpful. Find a link to these, as well as a skills audit based on them.
  • Professional standards for school administrative staff Are there examples of professional standards for school administrative staff? One of our associate education experts suggests examples of professional standards for three roles. We also refer to standards from two local authorities and the National College of Teaching and Leadership.
  • Professional standards for school leaders Professional standards for headteachers are set out in the 2020 Headteachers' Standards. Read expert advice on how other school leaders – including SBMs and heads of school – can use the standards, alongside other resources.
  • Professional standards for teaching assistants Get to grips with the non-statutory professional standards for TAs and how you, your SLT and teachers might choose to use them.
  • Teachers' Standards: overview and career progression UpdatedRead our summary of the Teachers' Standards, and see our skills audit and example school policies linking the standards to career stage expectations and progression.
Show all articles
  • Assistant headteacher: criteria for outstanding performance You should be able to judge what 'outstanding performance' looks like for an assistant headteacher. We set out descriptions of outstanding performance against the Teachers' Standards for you to look through, as well as other examples of descriptors in areas such as managing CPD and pastoral care.
  • Deputy headteacher appraisal Make sure you're prepared for your deputy headteacher's appraisal by considering objectives, development opportunities and professional standards.
  • Deputy headteacher: criteria for outstanding performance What criteria could be used to assess a deputy headteacher's performance? We worked with one of our associate experts to produce a KeyDoc with descriptors of 'outstanding' performance against the Teachers' Standards.
  • Performance management of school business managers (SBMs) Read advice on appraisal for SBMs and bursars, including how to use professional standards and support professional development.
  • SLT appraisal: 360-degree feedback Are there examples of 360-degree feedback tools? We include a 360-degree feedback form for headteachers, which you can download and adapt, and a feedback form for school business managers. You will also find links to commercial providers of 360-degree feedback tools.
  • The headteacher appraisal process Prepare for your headteacher appraisal by familiarising yourself with the whole process, and use our templates to review objectives and track progress.
Show all articles
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of teaching assistants Read advice on evaluating the effectiveness of teaching assistants (TAs) and download survey templates to check how much time TAs spend on different tasks each day and week.
  • Performance management of administrative staff Read advice on performance management for your school's admin staff, and download ready-made documents to help you track their performance.
  • Performance management of caretakers and site managers Download an example appraisal form, and read guidance on setting performance objectives for caretakers and premises managers.
  • Performance management of midday supervisors Is there advice on performance management for midday supervisors? This article has examples of potential targets and performance objectives, as well as professional standards these staff can be measured against. It also includes a downloadable KeyDoc form for observing midday supervisors.
  • Performance management of support staff You're not required to conduct formal appraisals for school support staff, but it is good practice. Read guidance on how to manage this process, including appointing appraisers and dealing with underperformance.
  • Performance management proformas for support staff Are there any performance management forms for support staff? One of our associate education experts has created downloadable templates of annual and mid-year performance review forms. We also link to examples of proformas from a local authority and related materials from schools.
  • Poll: Support staff appraisal Have your say and find out what other school leaders said.
  • School office: improving efficiency How can we improve management of the school office? Two of our associate education experts offer advice on how to improve efficiency in the school office. We also link to training and resources on leadership, line management and effective school office management.
  • Teaching assistants: appraisal You don't need to do performance management for teaching assistants (TAs), but it is good practice. Find guidance on arranging the process, setting objectives and standards, and gathering evidence ahead of the appraisal meeting.
Show all articles
  • Monitoring teaching and learning: using a range of evidence How can I assess teaching by looking at a range of evidence? This article relays advice from 3 of our associate education experts on triangulating evidence from a range of sources. It also features a downloadable KeyDoc with suggested criteria for assessing teacher performance.
  • Performance-related pay and performance objectives Find out about the relationship between performance-related pay, performance objectives and progression. Get top tips from our education experts to help you keep your appraisal procedures sound.
  • Teacher appraisal: assessing against the standards Learn how to use the Teachers' Standards in staff appraisals, and see examples of evidence you can use as part of the process.
  • Teacher appraisal: self-review questionnaire Is there a self-review questionnaire for teacher appraisals? One of The Key's associate education experts, Bernard Abrams, suggests a list of questions that teachers can use for self review before appraisal meetings. We also look at self-review forms from a local authority.
Show all articles
  • Capability action plan: template and guidance Be confident going into your meeting with an underperforming teacher. Read our walk-through of how the meeting will run and download our template capability action plan, so you can feel prepared for this difficult conversation.
  • Capability procedures: sharing information Whether or not you must declare when a teacher has been dismissed due to capability depends on the type of school. Read guidance, including advice from the DfE, ASCL and our associate education experts, and learn how the rules are different for support staff.
Show all articles