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A checklist to help you

Richard Knight, Deputy head, Speke Community School, Seconded to advise secondary schools on performance management.

Performance management is a new world for a lot of people, but it's an extension of what we've been doing if we've been doing the job properly. It's about support for people doing their job. And it's about planning. Instead of planning where the school's going, it's about planning where the individual's going.

A good head of department has been doing that all his life, supporting people to get the job done well and telling them how to go about it. Obviously, that's what it's about rather than about monitoring people to the point where you say, 'You're not doing this, and you're not doing that.' It will fail if tha's all it's about.

It's a little bit unfortunate that it's been tied in so closely to the funding, to pay, but it has. It is about self-analysis. And it is about the trend that's in schools post-Ofsted: that we're reviewing what we're doing and trying to do a better job. Good teachers analyse what they're doing and say: 'How can I make this better?' Certainly, I think schools have made a good start. In my own school I see more and more people asking themselves whether we're getting the best out of the kids.

We're also developing a system of monitoring departments in Liverpool. Inspectors go out and say: "Here's a checklist. How can we help you with any of this?" Interviews: Al Constantine, Esther Leach and Neil Levis

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