Performance management and appraisal: strategies and guidance

Use these resources to ensure your school has clear, transparent procedures in place to manage performance and appraise all staff fairly

Performance management is a continuous cycle of planning, monitoring and reviewing progress. From developing new and existing skills to managing capability procedures, performance management encompasses all aspects of an individual’s work and contribution to wider organisation goals.

The appraisals and capability training course contains advice to develop robust appraisal and capability procedures and ensure that all appraisers are trained to carry out their role consistently and effectively.

Perfect your policy

Your Staff appraisal and capability policy is the first place to start when looking at your performance management process.

It should ensure that all staff members are clear on the process, know when appraisal procedures move to capability procedures and that a fair and consistent system is applied.

Skills audits for staff

Whether you’re a middle leader, teaching assistant or MAT CEO, there will be skills you need to develop and areas to improve.

Our range of Skills audits can be used to help evaluate skills and knowledge, identify skills gaps and determine training needs.

Individuals can use them to help prepare for a performance management meeting and evidence outcomes for pupils and the school as a result of contributions.

A process for everyone

The Weatheralls Primary School has 36 TAs to support 620 pupils. When reviewing how TAs were being used in the school and how effective this was, the SLT identified three main areas of focus:

  1. to improve practice
  2. to improve pupil outcomes
  3. to improve pedagogy.

The aims were to develop a teaching and learning mindset for support staff, raise their professional status and remove fixed pre-conceptions around their role.

The result is a refined appraisal process with a clear line of accountability, which has helped upskill teachers and improve teacher-LSA relationships through clear direction and management.

Learn more about The Weatheralls approach to making the most of their TAs.

Staff appraisals

From support staff through to teachers and headteachers, all staff should receive clear objectives and a fair appraisal.

In maintained schools, the headteacher’s appraisal is carried out by the governing body. The step by step guide for governors describes what needs to be done and who is responsible for each task.

E​ffective appraisal

What makes an appraisal successful? The monitoring team performance unit of the Middle leadership essentials course focuses on the role the appraiser takes to ensure this.

Preparation is key, and appraisers need to thoroughly prepare for each one. The unit offers these preparations tips:

  • schedule time to reflect on progress made by the appraisee
  • provide opportunities for staff to do evaluate and reflect on their teaching
  • regularly review the appraisal process to ensure it is a productive experience and identifies areas of development for staff.

Have a difficult conv​ers​ation

When performance concerns become a capability issue, some difficult conversation will take place. If you need to hold a difficult conversation with a staff member, download our nine top tips to help guide it. 

Think about how you’ll frame it with the questions below to ensure that the way forward is realistic, reasonable and achievable.

  • What are the reasons for this conversation?
  • Why do I need to have this conversation now?
  • What factors have contributed to this?
  • What do I want to happen?

You can also watch the webinar on managing difficult conversations for more strategies and approaches to having one.

C​apability management 

As an appraiser, it’s likely that at some point you will have to deal with underperformance. If performance issues can’t be dealt with informally, a formal capability meeting will take place.

To ensure you follow the correct process, the capability meeting checklist outlines what needs to be done before, during and after the meeting.


Last Updated: 
03 May 2022