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Catholics aim for spiritual goals

Church guidance on performance management will include ethos targets. Karen Thornton reports.

HEADS and teachers in Catholic schools could find themselves being set spiritual as well as temporal targets for improvement as a result of new performance management policies.

The Catholic Church is to issue additional guidance on performance management to its schools, taking into account their religious ethos and mission statement.

The Department for Education and Employment has granted pound;20,000 towards printing costs, and will approve the guidance before distribution to the Church's 2,500 schools nationwide.

Oona Stannard, director of the Roman Catholic education service, said: "There is clearly a difference between us and non-voluntary-aided schools: the head of a Catholic school is also the spiritual leader of the school, and that's something that might be included.

"We hope ethos and mission will be very clearly reflected in teachers' and headteachers' performance objectives.

"It would be to do with things like worship and making sure there is strong evidence of the ethos of the school and in activities in the classroom - not just when people come together in assembly or in a few posters on the wall."

The Church of England is not following suit, saying it does not have the same level of concern about performance management.

Meanwhile, headteacers are insisting that appraisal reports be kept confidential. External advisers, brought in to help governors review their head's performance, will be required to submit logs to contractors Cambridge Education Associates. CEA, which is managing the adviser system, is expected to use the logs to monitor the new appraisal process.

The advisers are asked to record details of the performance management process, including whether training was available and if governors took it up; whether head and governors were clear about the purpose of key meetings; whether the governors were able to review the head's performance; the areas covered by new objectives; and how governors plan to monitor and evaluate progress against them.

Governor organisations are angry that the advisers will now be allocated to governing bodies, rather than chosen by members.

Both CEA and the DFEE insist governors will be able to choose someone else if they are not happy with their allocated adviser.

But Chris Gale, chairwoman of the National Governors' Council, said: "We are to have no choice - but will be allocated an adviser in the first instance. Never mind about their credibility with headteachers, never mind about the ethos of the school itself. So much for the governors' say."

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