Countdown to targets for teachers

18th February 2000 at 00:00
Individual objectives for all staff by January 2001. Nicolas Barnard and Karen Thornton report

EVERY TEACHER in England and Wales will be given his or her own targets by the end of January 2001 under draft plans for the Government's new appraisal system.

From September all teachers will be expected to hold meetings with their heads or senior teachers to set the "objectives" for the coming year - including at least one relating to pupil progress.

This appraisal system will run alongside assessments of teachers who want to cross the new pay threshold. Schools will by then be dealing with the first wave of applications to cross the threshold to a higher pay scale.

But the National Union of Teachers fears the proposals are under-funded, while heads are worried about governors' role. Many governors are said to be dreading the extra responsibilities performance-related pay will bring.

Draft regulations for the performance-management system are out for consultation before being put to Parliament.

Catherine Hinds, co-director of Information for School and College Governors, said: "Governing bodies I have visited are very worried about everything being in place for September.

"Some heads and governors are looking forward to it but probably more are saying they don't want anything to do with it." Governors look set to get 10hours' training under plans being drawn up by the Department for Education and Employment.

Performance management will replace the old appraisal system from September. Targets for the head must be agreed by the new year and for teachers by January 31, 2001.

The annual review will help heads decide if teachers get double increments, cross the threshold, or move up the new "upper" pay scale in their annual pay round. But it can also be used to inform decisions on disciplinary action against weak teachers.

Teachers who disagree with their targets or with written comments in the review report can add their comments at the end. If they want to take it further, they must complain to the head. If the head carries out the review - as is likely in small primaries and among senior teachers - appeals go to the chair of governors.

Heads' appraisal will be carried out by at least one governor, supported by an external adviser. The Secondary Heads' Association said serving or retired heads from other authorities would be best placed to carry out the review.

John Dunford, SHA general secretary, said: "We're concerned about the over-emphasis on governors. Governors should manage the process but the actual appraisal should be done by somebody with the right experience."

Ministers have earmarked pound;20m to ease in the new system.

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