Made to measure

6th April 2001 at 01:00
Lynne Taylor examines the vital role of team leaders in performance management

To ensure purposeful and quality performance management processes evolve in schools, the role of the team leader is of paramount importance. It is the team leader that carries out the school policy and each teacher's experience of performance management will be influenced by their team leader's management skills. The weakest teacher should benefit from a well-planned performance cycle and review. A teacher's professional development, pay structure and even career are entrusted to them.

This month I shall focus on the crucial role played by the team leader in the performance management cycle. I shall demonstrate an essential part for ICT and show how this can effect good practice. More can be found at

Team leaders may have very different backgrounds, depending on the size and structure of the school. The head will be the team leader for all staff in a small school but will oversee the senior management team in larger schools. By now schools will have formed team groupings to use for these purposes. A team leader is selected to have the best overview of a teacher's work. Teams may be too large for one leader to review all the team and therefore the task will be shared with others. The difference in levels of seniority and experience of leaders is thus very real in larger schools. If ICT is not a principal tool in performance management, genuine objectivity will be difficult to implement. At view many ideas and suggestions to help to achieve an unprejudiced system.

Roles and responsibilities What are the tasks of a team leader and how can ICT promote true objectivity? Briefly the team leader must:

* meet each teacher before the start of the cycle to plan and discuss setting objectives

* record objectives in writing

* monitor performance against objectives throughout the year

* observe the teacher in the classroom at least once during the review cycle

* meet the teacher at the end of the cycle to review performance and identify achievements

* evaluate achievement against objectives

* discuss and identify professional development needsactivities

* write a performance review statement and pass the completed performance review statement to the headteacher

Leadership skills

Many team leaders will already be included in the school leadership group and those that are not may be considering themselves as future candidates. These team leaders may or may not be advanced skills teachers. No matter which group they fall into, ICT presents awealth of new and steadily changing opportunities for investigating and developing performance management processes. Each team leader's own performance management review will assess their success in the role of team leader. No leader in 21st century schools can be effective without accessing the wealth of support materials and guidance that is on offer. ICT opens the paths to this information. All team leaders should be familiar with the developments taking place at the National College for School Leadership(NCSL). ICT is now mandatory. There are links to the NCSL and other support sites at

Pupil Progress

Team leaders will be the catalyst to link the ongoing tracking of formative assessment taking place in the classrooms to headteachers' management of the autumn package and the school Panda. It is of little value for a head to say, "We need to set our target for mathematics at 85 per cent," unless this can be translated into genuine realistic targets for real pupils in specific classes. It will be the team leader who determines these with the class teachers. Objectives about pupil progress should be based on what is known about the pupils. External and internal assessments stored electronically (as suggested in Magic markbook are essential. With the Panda and benchmarking data, bona fide targets may be set.

No one wants to share

Put a group of teachers together for a short time and there's no stopping a dialogue of support and ideas of the things that are effective in schools, and those that are not. In the electronic world today, the Virtual Teacher Centre is a place for teachers to visit to share good practice and exchange ideas and experiences. Yet this does not seem to be happening with school managers. A brief look at the discussion sections shows virtually nothing in the management section for 2001. The DFEE has launched a new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) site Its role is to "offer practical advice, examples of good practice and case histories, as well as the latest news and views of colleagues regarding professional development". Hopefully, more will contribute and perhaps new ICT management training could encourage this.

Next month I shall demonstrate how all classroom teachers can use ICT to help them achieve the very best from the performance management cycle.

Lynne Taylor runs Cogent Computer Solutions, based in Kenilworth. Questions can be emailed to

Previous assessment materials can be accessed on the TES Online website

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