IAPS Education Committee
IAPS HEADS APPRAISAL GUIDANCE
IAPS has been approached by Heads and Governors for guidance on
appraisal/performance management review and whilst we have not intended to
dictate procedure, we have put together documentation based on best practice in
Governors have a duty as employers to ensure that the Head is performing well
and a fair system of performance management promotes accountability. The Head
is responsible for performance management of staff in school and it is only right
that s/he should be subject to a process at least as rigorous as that which is
undertaken by other staff.
It is important to establish that appraisal is not the same as competency or
disciplinary procedures. Appraisal should be an even-handed and fair process
that monitors and supports the Head’s work, providing plenty of opportunity to
appreciate achievements and strengths.
Some schools link appraisal to salary and performance targets are set with
salary levels in mind. This is a matter for individual schools and their contracts.
The appraisal process (otherwise known as Performance Management Review
or Development Review) provides a mechanism for Governors to ensure that the
Head is working effectively, receiving appropriate support and continuing to
engage in professional development.
In order that the Head’s appraisal can be a meaningful part of the whole school
appraisal scheme and support whole school improvement, the following
documentation must be in place:
Contract and job description
Appraisal policy statement
Agreed aims of the school and development plan
CPD programme (and budget)
Procedure for appeal according to complaints procedures
Appraisal is the focal point of a cyclical performance management system which
ensures the tracking of agreed performance targets. A full Head’s appraisal should
be undertaken by an objective third party and full, formal appraisal is an involved,
time-consuming process so most schools find themselves unable to make this
happen every year. In this case, a less formal, interim appraisal should be
undertaken by a Governor or two Governors together between full appraisals.
If a school has committed itself contractually to follow state school procedures
according to ‘the burgundy book’, then schools should follow the model policy:
“Teacher appraisal and capability”, published by the DfE in May 2012. See link:
These requirements do not apply to independent schools. However, IAPS expects schools
to follow an appropriately systematic and professional procedure.
In the maintained sector, “the head teacher will be appraised by the Governing Body,
supported by a suitably skilled and/or experienced external adviser who has been appointed
by the Governing Body for that purpose…the task of appraising the head teacher, including
the setting of objectives, will be delegated to a sub-group” (from the revised DfE
arrangements for teacher appraisal, introduced September, 2012).
This IAPS guidance proposes an approach which incorporates three types of appraisal:
1. New Head’s appraisal, undertaken around the end of the first year in post
2. Interim, short appraisal or review meeting undertaken by Governors
3. Full performance management review (360 degree appraisal) by an external
appraiser (Appendix B).
This is best practice and schools will need to decide how frequently it is
appropriate and realistic to achieve, e.g. a two or three year cycle.
APPOINTING AN EXTERNAL APPRAISER
IAPS can provide a list of experienced appraisers for schools.
Governors will need to agree the appraiser with the Head, preferably an objective appraiser
who fully understands the complex role and time demands of the Head, and will need to
agree fees and expenses, timing, methodology, reporting back and confidentiality issues
with the appraiser.
Interim, short appraisal can be conducted by a Governor and comprises a formal review and
update relating back to the previous, full appraisal and any inspection findings and notable
developments since then. The appraiser will discuss progress against targets and evidence
of progress (see Appendix C). The Head and Governors will agree a date, process and
timescale for this kind of short appraisal well in advance. By its nature, it will be lighter of
touch and limited in scope.
The New Heads and full appraisal process requires more preparation. The Chair of
Governors (or Proprietor) will agree the appointment of an appraiser with the Head. It
should be clear from the outset how appraisal is to be structured, who will be involved, the
timescale, how confidentiality is to be safeguarded and the nature of reporting back to the
governing body (see Appendix B).
In all cases, the appraiser needs to establish a respectful working relationship with the
appraisee so that there can be rigorous evaluation of performance, recognising strengths as
well as areas for development. Preliminary research will include the school website,
previous inspection reports and the school’s self evaluation paperwork.
The following aspects of the Head’s work should be explored:
• Leadership and relationships, administration and management
• Strategic development of the school; how the Head supports the school’s aims.
Vision. Discipline. Quality-assuring the full educational package including extra-
curricular aspects of school.
• Planning and policies, including accountability and financial awareness
• Deployment of staff and management of resources. Maintaining and developing
• Marketing, communication and consultation
• Professional and personal development
Targets will come out of the analysis of these areas and it might be that appraisal focuses on
3 areas of current interest generated by the development plan, recent developments in the
school and/or an inspection report.
THE FINAL REPORT
Feedback will be constructive, incorporating areas of success together with frank advice and
encouragement in a balanced and supportive manner. The appraiser will discuss his/her
draft findings in full and any notes will be destroyed upon the publication of the final report,
once agreed with the Head.
The report will provide an assessment of the Head’s performance and training and
development needs. Performance must be assessed against relevant standards (see
Appendix D ii Teaching Standards). It is important to record and celebrate the achievements
and strengths of the Head which might be overlooked otherwise.
Objectives will support the school development plan and will be Specific, Measurable,
Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. Where agreement is not possible, the appraiser will
determine the objectives.
The Head will be provided time to discuss the outcomes of appraisal. This will include
between 3 and 5 targets and support any strategies identified by the appraisal, any points of
accuracy and the final report in its entirety.
IAPS recommends that Governors ensure that heads habitually attend continuing
professional development (CPD) events including Annual Conference and the New Heads
and Experienced Heads courses which are designed to support the professional
development of prep school heads. We urge Governors to ensure that the CPD budget
includes provision for the Head’s training.
For other guidance and details of training courses, please refer to the IAPS website: iaps.uk
The Chair of Governors/Proprietor will see the final, full report. It is important that other
governors appreciate the confidential nature of the report and only discuss edited highlights.
In some cases, it is agreed at the outset that documentation will not be shared beyond the
Head and one or two Governors. The Chairman will usually present a summary to the
Governing Body at the end of the process.
Only two copies of the final report will be retained, both of which will be signed off by the
appraiser and appraisee. One will be kept in the Head’s personnel file and the other kept by
The appraisal document will