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Appraisals and performance assessments

If you’re a TV fan, we are not referring to the concluding series of The Great British Bake Off, the commencement of the X Factor or the Christmas countdown that Strictly Come Dancing provides. As you may recall, performance assessments and associated performance-related pay were introduced in 2013 with the first reviews taking place in 2014.

What is an appraisal?

Appraisals are designed to be supportive and developmental, ensuring that teachers and support staff have the skills they need to carry out their role effectively and to continue their professional development where applicable.

The process allows information to be gathered about that persons’ performance over a period of time, in order for it to be considered as evidence of the extent to which a person is performing in their role.

How long is the process?

The appraisal period runs for 12 months (generally from 01 September to 31 August each year) and appraisal reports and pays recommendations should be communicated to teachers before 31 October each year. By now, performance meetings should be scheduled in and communicated to all staff.

What do I need to consider?

Your policy may provide a list of information that you need to consider when making decisions on performance and it is important that you stick to that information because that is what the employee will expect. Any interim feedback that you have already given can be incorporated too but bear in mind that this should not be new information. There should not be any surprises.

If an employee has transitioned to the capability procedure during the appraisal process, then you need to ensure that you continue to follow that process. You will still need to conduct their review and make a pay recommendation in line with your internal procedures.

Phase 1

  1. Have you collected the employee’s self-appraisal form? They have an opportunity to say where and how they have met their performance objectives or why they have not met them.
  2. Have you captured evidence of an employee’s performance? This will enable a better discussion and provide the necessary evidence to support pay decisions.

iii) Have you provided the support required? If you have noticed areas for development and informed the employee of this then are you confident that you have provided the support required for the employee to meet their objectives?

Phase 2

Ensure you stick to your timetable for meetings, so that all employees not only have their performance assessed but they receive their new objectives for the year. The meeting should be a dialogue with the employee’s input as a critical factor – it is their review after all. If you are delivering difficult information do not shy away – say it how it is but says it with sensitivity. Remember, this news should not be new news.

Your aim should be to provide the employee with clear evidence in relation to their performance, clear objectives for the year ahead and in line with your policy, information on pay progression.

Pay reviews

Depending on your policy, pay progression may or may not be linked to performance. If you still offer automatic pay progression then ensure that you communicate the necessary changes in line with the deadline of 31 October.

If pay progression is directly related to performance then ensure you have the evidence to support your decision on whether an employee has met the criteria (contained within your policy) for progression or not. You will need to communicate this by 31 October.

If an employee has transitioned to capability during the appraisal cycle and therefore, pay progression is not an option, explain what you will do to support them in achieving their objectives for the year ahead and possible pay progression at the next review.


Employees have the right to appeal against any pay decisions and a grievance against how their performance appraisal has been conducted in line with internal procedures.

The likelihood of an appeal or grievance can be reduced if you have provided ongoing feedback, support, evidence and followed a fair and thorough assessment throughout.

You will need to evidence, dialogue and deliver objectives so that everyone is clear of what’s involved and if they follow the process, they know to expect.

If you would like any further advice on any aspect of employment law, please contact a member of our Employment & HR team on 01332 226149 for a confidential chat.


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