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.
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.
Don’t be pressurised into accepting objectives that you are unhappy with. If unreasonable objectives are imposed, put your concerns in writing.
Make sure you ask for any support or continuing professional development (CPD) you think you will need. If you have concerns about your reviewer, ask your head teacher 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.
If anything happens that you think will affect your chances of meeting your objectives, meet your reviewer to discuss your concerns.
Make sure that all classroom observations are in line with the school’s procedure and with acceptable observation protocols.
Maternity leave or other long term absence
If you are starting maternity leave or if you know that you are going to be absent for longer than usual(e.g. members undergoing surgery or other medical treatment) you should seek an adjustment to your appraisal objectives for the current and next academic year, i.e. that the objectives that you have already agreed should be reduced to take account of the anticipated absence. This would enable you to meet the reduced and attainable objectives and meet the criteria for pay progression.
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.
If you realise that your objectives were not relevant to the pay progression criteria - or that your reviewer thinks you didn’t meet your objectives - point to other achievements during the year that support your progression.
Remind your reviewer that the Department for Education (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.
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 should not 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.