All teachers below the maximum of the main or upper pay range are entitled to be considered for pay progression every year - it is not an application process.
Pay decisions should be based on appraisal outcomes and standards for progression set out in the school pay policy. Remember – if you are denied progression you have the right to appeal.
PRP is any case unfair, but the impact of the Coronavirus on schools means that it is completely unworkable and should be suspended in favour of automatic pay progression for September 2020 for all eligible teachers in addition to application of the cost of living increases to all pay points and allowances. See NEU advice on Coronavirus and pay here.
First Steps – Getting the right appraisal objectives
Make sure your objectives really are ‘SMART’ - specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Try to ensure you have no more than three objectives in line with NEU policy. Ideally, draft your own preferred objectives before your meeting with your reviewer.
Make sure they are relevant to your school’s criteria for pay progression - your appraisal process is meant to provide the evidence that you should progress. Try to secure objectives which will genuinely demonstrate your performance, not just your students’ results.
Try to avoid numerical objectives (ie based on test/exam results) unless they are reasonable and it’s accepted that account will be taken of anything outside your control affecting the outcome.
Don’t be pressurised into accepting objectives that you are unhappy with - most policies say that objectives should be agreed where possible. If unreasonable objectives are imposed on you, put your concerns in writing so you can refer to them later if you need to.
Make sure you ask for any support or CPD you think you will need - and again put your concerns in writing if it isn’t agreed. If you have concerns about your reviewer, ask your headteacher to put alternative arrangements in place.
During the year
Make sure any interim review is a thorough discussion and ask your reviewer about any concerns. The “no surprises” principle will protect you if your reviewer doesn’t raise concerns during the year.
If anything happens that you think will affect your chances of meeting your objectives, meet your reviewer to discuss your concerns. If necessary, ask for any support you think you need and ask for objectives or timescales to be modified. Put any outstanding concerns in writing.
Make sure that all classroom observations are in line with the school’s procedure and also with acceptable observation protocols. If you encounter problems during the observed lesson that you think will hamper your chances of pay progression, make sure you let your reviewer know.
At the review meeting
Prepare in advance and be ready to make your case. Make sure that the discussion is focused on your appraisal objectives - you should not be assessed against all of the Teachers’ Standards in a tick-box fashion.
If you realise that your objectives weren’t really relevant to the pay progression criteria - or that your reviewer thinks you didn’t meet your objectives - make sure you point to other achievements during the year that support your progression.
Remind your reviewer that the DfE advice notes the value of work done by teachers who have made progress towards challenging objectives but not quite achieved the objective(s) concerned. You should not need to meet all of your objectives in order to progress.
Remind your reviewer if necessary about the ‘no surprises’ principle - any concerns about your performance should have been raised during the year and support provided.
Be prepared to appeal
Make sure you get the reviewer’s recommendation in writing before the meeting where the final pay decision is taken (usually by governors).
Ask for an informal meeting with the reviewer and head teacher to challenge any recommendation that you shouldn’t progress - and ask to attend any governors’ meeting to decide your progression.
If you are denied pay progression, your school must let you appeal and attend an appeal hearing.