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Managing performance: headteacher appraisals

Every governor knows how their role has grown in recent years and how the expectations of them have risen in parallel. However, one critical event in the annual governance calendar that has always been with us is Headteacher Appraisal. 

The ideal appraisal cycle really starts with the Headteacher and governors evaluating the school’s performance in the previous academic year against the school’s priorities. This evaluation sets the context for the coming year’s school priorities, allowing a review of the school’s self-evaluation and school development plan, including the setting or confirmation of key school priorities.   

This evaluation and target setting with the whole board and perhaps senior leadership will be followed by the review of the head’s appraisal objectives through the annual appraisal meeting. Hopefully these objectives are already closely aligned with school priorities. This meeting is also the vehicle to agree the Headteacher’s performance targets to mirror the school priorities.   

Don’t forget, though, that your school is only one stage of your current head’s career. Governors have a responsibility to make sure that they meet the head’s own career development needs as well as the school needs – but of course will also benefit from the head’s professional development. 

When this works well as described, the governing board and the leadership have aligned and sharply focused priorities for the academic year. The board then have the basis to design their monitoring plan and the head has the focus to set performance targets with the rest of the staff team. 

The benefits of a well-planned and integrated appraisal and self-evaluation cycle are significant. Not only does it keep the whole school focused on the necessary priorities, it contributes significantly to the culture and expectations that all staff and governors share. 

This process can sound daunting but with the expertise of an external adviser, this needn't be the case. This person, appointed  because of their in-depth school improvement experience, will be able to guide you objectively through the review and target setting with everybody’s best interests in mind. Further, your school improvement adviser can provide a valuable sounding board to review your school self evaluation and school improvement plan. 

If you would like to find out more about we can help with the appraisal process, click here or get in touch:

T: 01609 533222



Stuart Boothman

Lead Adviser Governance