How appraisal works

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Rights and conditions
02 November 2016
Teachers talking
The performance management system for teachers in England is governed by the Education (School Teachers’ Appraisal) (England) Regulations 2012. All schools must have an appraisal policy.

ATL, along with NUT and NAHT, have developed a model appraisal policy for use in schools. There is no need for existing policies and practices to change.

Appraisal advice

The performance management process is carried out within the context of the individual's job description and the provisions of the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) in England and Wales. The aim is to make a plan for the individuals' future development in the context of the school's own improvement plan.

Arrangements for performance management in schools and colleges should be consistent with the principles and practice of equal opportunities and the legislative requirements and duties which apply to schools and local authorities.

Educational establishments need to ensure that their individual arrangements are managed effectively, transparently and fairly, and applied consistently. The Rewards and Incentives Group (RIG) has published a model policy for schools and colleges and guidance with the aim of ensuring this.

    Classroom observation

    ATL does not believe that the new performance management system should lead to an increase in the number of classroom observations that members are subjected to. Under previous legislation, observations for performance management were limited to three hours per year. The 2012 regulations remove this limit. ATL’s view is that, where a teacher is performing well, there is no need for excessive observation as this disrupts lessons and takes up time. A programme for observations, detailing particular aspects of the lesson to be observed, should be agreed at the review/ planning stage. Where concerns are raised then further observations may be necessary.

    Drop-ins and other observations, such as learning walks, should be planned. Teachers should be given notice of when they will happen. With careful planning and coordination, observations undertaken for appraisal can be used to inform all other management processes, such as subject reviews. 

    For details, see ATL's factsheet on classroom observation.

    Appraisal in different sectors

    Maintained schools in England

    Professional standards provide the backdrop to discussions about performance and future development. The standards define the professional attributes, knowledge, understanding and skills for teachers at each career stage.

    Maintained schools in Northern Ireland

    In Northern Ireland, performance management takes place under the performance review and staff development scheme (PRSD). It applies to all qualified teachers, other than teachers participating in induction and early professional development.

    Please read ATL's guide to PRSD for detailed information about how the process works.

    Maintained schools in Wales

    Performance management in Wales is based around the School Teacher Appraisal (Wales) Regulations 2002.

    The Regulations provide for the appraisal of the performance of school teachers (including unqualified teachers) at community, voluntary and foundation schools with the exception of those employed in non standards settings, centrally employed teachers, those employed with contracts of less than a year, nursery teachers, teachers in pupil referral units and peripatetic teachers.

    Sixth form colleges

    A framework setting out in detail how performance management should operate in sixth form colleges has been produced jointly by the unions and employers. Teachers on the main scale should be set objectives as appropriate that indicate that they are working towards professional standards payments (PSP) standards.

    Evidence from annual reviews can be used to support either the award of accelerated increments or be taken into account for established procedures for the consideration of the withholding of an increment where service is deemed not to be satisfactory. Colleges need to consider the support necessary to assist the member of staff to meet the necessary objectives.

    Teachers on the professional standards payment scale will be expected to demonstrate the substantial and sustained maintenance of PSP standards.

    Further education

    ATL and the national employers' body (the Association of Colleges) have a national guideline agreement in place for performance management arrangements in colleges and FE institutions.

    Further information


    There are now a number of useful documents available for members and schools regarding appraisals: