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  • 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 criteria to grade lessons. However, if you want to refer to Ofsted inspection criteria when carrying out lesson observations, including for EYFS lessons, use our template forms.
  • Lesson observations: how-to and templates Follow our step-by-step guide to carry out successful lesson observations. Use our resources to help you – there are lesson observation templates, 2 of which are based on Ofsted inspection criteria, and a template feedback form.
  • Observing EYFS teaching: what to look for Understand what you should look for when observing teaching in the EYFS with guidance on what effective teaching looks like, and 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.
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  • Agreeing performance objectives with teachers Do the appraiser and the appraisee have to agree on objectives? This article looks at who has the final decision about a teacher's performance objectives. It also relays advice from One Education and the union Voice on dealing with disagreements.
  • Appraisal: 360-degree feedback form Download our template form for gathering 360-degree feedback for staff performance reviews, and save yourself some time if you're making your own.
  • Appraisal and maternity leave Get tips on how to conduct performance management for staff on maternity leave, including how to schedule meetings and what points to consider during appraisal.
  • Appraisal: stages of the cycle What are the main stages of the performance management process? We outline the key phases as suggested in the DfE's optional model policy for teacher appraisal. We also include a case study of how one teaching school manages its appraisal cycle.
  • Line management of middle leaders How can senior leaders manage middle leaders effectively? One of our associate education experts suggests how line managers can prepare for and conduct effective meetings with middle leaders. We also include a case study looking at line management of middle leaders in a secondary school.
  • Performance management checklists Use our checklists to make sure your performance management process follows good practice and your line managers know what’s expected of them. If you’re in a maintained school, they’ll keep you compliant with the regulations you must follow.
  • School staff appraisal: requirements and approaches What are the requirements for appraisal of staff? What is good practice? We look at the requirement to annually appraise teachers in maintained schools, and at examples of arrangements for teachers in academies, as well as support staff. We also include a case study from a teaching school.
  • Setting performance objectives for different career stages How are objectives set for teachers at different career stages? Four of our associate experts suggest ways to base objectives on career stage expectations, and how to set challenging objectives for more-experienced teachers. A KeyDoc sets out objectives for different parts of the pay range.
  • Staff feedback forms: appraisal process Are there forms for gathering feedback on the appraisal process? We worked with one of our associate experts to create a downloadable KeyDoc form for asking for feedback from staff on the appraisal process. We also point to an example of a form from ACAS.
  • Teacher appraisal and capability: requirements What are the current appraisal arrangements for teachers? This article summarises the main requirements of the regulations on appraisal and capability procedures, explains whether mid-year appraisals are needed, and links to model policies from The Key.
  • Teacher appraisal reports: template and guidance Use our downloadable report template when appraising your teachers, to help review their progress and plan for the year ahead. You'll also find out what appraisal reports need to contain, and guidance to support you in completing them.
  • Teacher on a page: template Find our downloadable 'teacher on a page' report that you can use to track a teacher's performance across an appraisal cycle.
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  • Career progression and the Teachers’ Standards What do the Teachers’ Standards say about career progression? This article looks at what the Teachers’ Standards say about career progression and relays advice on expectations of teachers at different stages. You will also find a case study from a teaching school on career progression for teachers.
  • 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.
  • Career stage expectations linked to the Teachers' Standards Are there examples of career stage expectations for teachers? The Teachers' Standards do not specify what career progression should look like, but this article points to examples of career stage expectations (CSE) linked to the Standards.
  • Head of department: professional standards Download our example standards for a head of department role that you can use as part of your appraisal process.
  • Headteachers' Standards: summary NewRead our summary of the Headteachers' Standards 2020 and how to use them.
  • Performance management of EYFS teachers What standards are used to assess early years teachers? We explain that all teachers in maintained schools must be assessed against the Teachers’ Standards. We also look at whether academies are required to use the Teachers' Standards, and at using the early years Teachers' Standards for appraisal.
  • 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 Are there professional standards for school leaders? This article looks at the standards for headteachers, and relays advice on how to apply these. It also refers to the Teachers' Standards and ISBL's professional standards framework for SBMs.
  • Professional standards for teaching assistants Are there any standards for teaching assistants (TAs)? We link to professional standards for TAs, published in June 2016. We also link to previously developed national occupational standards for support staff and higher level teaching assistants (HLTAs).
  • Teachers' Standards: an overview Find out which teachers the standards have to apply to, and read our summary of what the standards cover.
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  • 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 How can I appraise the performance of a deputy headteacher? This article relays advice from one of our associate experts on performance management for deputy headteachers. It also looks at standards for appraising deputy headteachers’ performance.
  • 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.
  • Headteacher appraisal Get ready for appraisal season by reading our process and guidance. We cover your self-evaluation, pre-meeting with the external adviser, and what happens in the review meeting.
  • Performance management of school business managers/bursars Is there guidance on SBM performance management? We relay advice from a teaching school and ISBL on appraisal of school business managers, and refer to ISBL's professional standards. We also include advice from one of our associate education experts on evaluating progress towards objectives.
  • Setting objectives: non-class-based leaders and the Teachers' Standards How can we use the Teachers' Standards to set objectives for leadership posts? This article refers to the appraisal regulations, and includes advice on setting objectives, based on the Teachers' Standards, for staff in leadership roles with little or no teaching commitment.
  • 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.
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  • Case studies on performance management for support staff How do schools handle performance management for support staff? This article features case studies from two primary schools and an all-through special school. We also link to case studies and guidance from two LAs and relay advice from one of our associate education experts on this topic.
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of teaching assistants (TAs) How can we monitor the effectiveness of TAs? We relay advice on evaluating the effectiveness of teaching assistants (TAs). You will also find downloadable surveys to use to determine how much time TAs spend on different tasks each day and week, and an observation checklist from a local authority.
  • Performance management of administrative staff How can I do performance management for administrative staff? In this article, you will find advice and KeyDoc proformas to help you with the performance management of support staff. We also point to suggested objectives and standards.
  • Performance management of caretakers and site managers Look through this article for help when you're completing an appraisal of your caretakers or site managers. It includes a downloadable example appraisal form, as well as guidance on setting performance objectives.
  • 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 UpdatedYou 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.
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  • 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 objectives: linking them to the Teachers' Standards How can we link performance objectives to the Teachers' Standards? We relay advice and suggestions for objectives from one of our associate education experts. We also look at the criteria schools should use during appraisal of teachers on the upper pay range.
  • Performance-related pay and performance objectives How do performance objectives work with performance-related pay? We look at how performance-related pay affects performance objectives, appraisal, and progression.
  • Teacher appraisal: assessing against the standards Know how you are expected to use the Teachers' Standards during appraisal, and find suggestions of what evidence you can use as part of this assessment.
  • 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.
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  • Capability action plan for teachers Use our template capability action plan to help you support a teacher that is judged to be underperforming.
  • Capability procedures: sharing information Must we declare it when a teacher is dismissed due to capability? This article looks at the requirements in the school staffing regulations and the DfE’s staffing and employment advice for schools, and relays advice from the DfE and ASCL on sharing information about capability procedures.
  • Support for a teacher judged to be underperforming Supporting an underperforming teacher can be difficult. Read this article for advice on how to approach informal capability procedures, setting improvement targets and providing effective support programmes. We also link to supporting documents, such as letters to send before and after meetings.
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