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Stop bleating and make this work

As co-author of a report translating to schools some of industry's experiences with performance management (Milestone or Millstone? Performance Management in Schools: reflections on the experience of industry, Industry in Education, 2000) I am dismayed by reports of the recent Exeter University research on the threshold assessment process. These give further voice to those who want to reject the concept of performance management and appraisal generally.

It is hardly surprising that the initial mechanism for allocating teachers to higher pay scales has been clumsy and bureaucratic. Most of industry would not even do it that way, as an individual's full appraisal and performance history would be available (removing the need for staff to collate evidence of performance).

The key now is to stop bleating about the first year of the threshold process - particularly since most passed - and ensure proper annual appraisal for all teachers, including those below the threshold. This will lead to a good case in a few years time to scrap most of the paperwork and external assessment and rely on informed internal judgments about who deserves to be on the higher scale.

Dick Whitcutt Director, Industry in Education 11 Beaumont Gate, Shenley Hill Radlett, Hertfordshire

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