Tracking the progression of teachers is just as important as tracking the progression of pupils. That’s because it ensures that teachers’ career development stays on track and is well-supported, and it helps pupils get the best possible learning outcomes, day-in, day-out.
However, it can be hard to find the time to evaluate teachers properly. On hectic school days, there is little time for headteachers to sit down with their staff, conduct appraisals and complete all the requisite paperwork. Making this job even harder is new legislation being introduced by the Department for Education, increasing the scope of what’s required in teacher appraisals.
In this blog, we’ll explore how you can keep your teacher appraisals compliant, while also removing the administrative headaches that are often associated with them.
What is the legislation?
The DfE now expects all teacher appraisals to be accompanied by a written report. This report must feature three elements in particular:
- An assessment of their performance against their objectives and the standards
- An assessment of their training and development needs
- Where relevant, a recommendation on pay progression
The DfE’s advice also asks school leaders to ensure that ‘the process of teacher appraisal does not become overly burdensome’. However, this may prove to be challenging. Widening the scope of appraisals adds even more of an administrative burden to teachers and headteachers that are already very time-poor. The only realistic way to solve this challenge is through digital teacher appraisals, which are emerging as a much more efficient way of handling the whole process.
How do digital teacher appraisals work?
Digital teacher appraisals introduce much-needed flexibility and user-friendliness into the appraisal process. It allows both school leaders and teachers to contribute to an ongoing development process and fit it around their own schedules, without having to commit to face-to-face meetings at fixed times.
Furthermore, this can form one part of a wider professional development and class observation platform that brings all the elements of teacher quality assurance together in one place. By moving away from the traditional paper-based way of handling quality assurance data, more admin headaches can be removed from staff who may have many other responsibilities to deal with.
Being used within a wider online platform means this data can be better-tracked and put to more productive use. For example, if an appraisal results in a particular area of improvement being suggested for a teacher, this can be entered into the digital system, where both teacher and appraiser can track its progress over time. This digitisation streamlines the whole process considerably.
What are the benefits of going digital?
There are lots of positives to enjoy from moving towards a digital teacher appraisal system, beyond the administrative streamlining benefits.
For starters, it makes the appraisals themselves faster and easier to conduct, as each party involved can submit their information as and when required. This has the knock-on effect of creating a virtual ‘paper trail’ of information, which supports greater transparency around the whole process – certainly much more than information filled in on a paper form and locked away in a filing cabinet. And it’s also worth noting that moving away from paper-based appraisals is better for the environment, and for school sustainability credentials.
When integrated with professional development and class observation, it’s possible to generate a more holistic, interconnected view of teacher progress. No longer do appraisals have to be a stand-alone process conducted at fixed intervals: teacher development and quality assurance can become a constantly ongoing process to which all parties regularly make valuable contributions.
This approach is helpful for school leaders, too. They can now easily get overviews of the progress of all of their teachers from a single platform, and generate reports that tell them which teachers are meeting their targets, and which ones may need further support. In fact, the best professional development platforms can even suggest actions that school leaders can take to provide support, whether on a teacher-specific basis or for the teaching staff as a whole.
GO BEYOND COMPLIANCE
Make your teacher development and appraisal process a valuable asset for your school with Sisra Observe. Learn more about our comprehensive digital platform and book a demo with the team.