Performance management legal requirements
There has been no change to the statutory requirement for Maintained Schools to operate the performance management regulations for teachers during the pandemic. For Academies, while not mandatory, where policies are in place these should be followed. Similarly, where policies are in place for support staff performance management, these should continue to be followed.
Time to talk to staff
Effective performance management is as much about taking time to talk to your staff, as it is about the setting, monitoring and reviewing performance targets. It has never been more important to have some time with staff to support their work and wellbeing. So, wherever possible set aside time to have one-to-one discussions with staff.
Be realistic with objectives and development plans
Given the extraordinary year we have had, most objectives and development plans will certainly be off track. However, that is OK. Where practicable, adjust formal objectives in line with what is reasonably achievable and keep them under review through discussion. In any case, it’s important to keep staff on track with the general priorities and performance expectations, even if they’re unable to make progress against specific objectives previously set. It is important not to lose sight of school and individual goals – so keep these at the forefront of discussions with staff.
Pay decisions, in most cases, are directly linked to performance management outcomes. Staff mustn’t be disadvantaged by the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in. Managers should therefore make fair, reasonable and consistent assessments of performance, in discussion with staff, disregarding any absences and periods where no work was available. Where there is clear evidence of underperformance, staff should be alerted to this, and the possibility of them not receiving performance pay progression, at the earliest opportunity. Any such underperformance should be discussed with staff and support put in place to facilitate improvement.