Recent research released by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) revealed that one in 12 teachers have been denied a salary increase since performance-related pay (PRP) was introduced in 2014.
With the power and responsibility of PRP being given to schools, Damien Roberts, business development director at Schoolip by Derventio, looks at how teaching staff can gather the right information throughout the performance cycle, ensuring that the process is fair and transparent.
Before its introduction in 2014, there was a lot of speculation amongst teachers around the PRP process and how it would work, so these statistics come as no surprise to me. It’s important for schools to examine this reaction and ensure staff understand exactly what needs to be done in order to achieve their objectives for pay progression.
Performance management in schools is traditionally initiated at the beginning of the academic year, but beyond the odd email or discussion in passing, the process often gets lost amongst the preoccupations of teaching, lesson planning and exam preparation. Schools should consider a system that combines the whole process in a central online system which can track progress, store evidence and maintain a constant dialogue between the staff member and their line manager. This will allow staff to highlight achievements or flag issues as and when they arise, as well as altering objectives at any point if needs be. Having an online blog to talk to one another ascertains a very transparent way of ensuring that everything is recorded, and can be used to reinforce outcomes from face-to-face meetings.
While the ATL research found that over half of teachers believed that PRP increased their workload, this shouldn’t be the case if a school has an effective and efficient process in place. Removing the need for paper-based evidence and portfolios, and offering technology such as smartphone apps will help to put the power back into teachers’ hands and reduce the overall burden, allowing them to focus on the main priority: teaching their students.
Making the process as accessible as possible for staff is also important. Nowadays, most people own a smartphone, and the ability to record evidence digitally using mobiles and upload it directly to an online system can help to reduce laborious paper administration. This way, nothing gets lost throughout the year and can easily be retrieved when staff need to demonstrate how they have met their objectives.
Evidence can come in the form of photographs of students work or wall displays; after all, it’s important for OFSTED to walk into a classroom and see that the walls are teaching the students before the lesson has even begun. Evidence can even be shared through video, especially for lessons which may be harder to articulate and visualise on paper, for example, recording students doing coaching exercises during a PE lesson. Not only can this be used as evidence, but also shared as best practice with other teachers.
To make PRP as fair as possible for staff, schools should consider software which is able to inform staff and their line managers when they might be missing specific evidence for objectives. This means ahead of the end-of-year review, the teacher knows whether or not they’ve hit their target, so it won’t come as a surprise if they haven’t quite met pay progression.
With efficient and simple ways of incorporating all areas of performance management, schools can be completely transparent with staff, enabling them to understand exactly what needs to be accomplished throughout the year. With digital capabilities in place, rather than staff feeling the burden of having to provide paper-based evidence, they can provide as much as they want, confident in the knowledge that they’re meeting both theirs and the schools overall objectives.
SchooliP by Derventio brings together the three main elements of school improvement including: performance management, improvement planning and self-evaluation. It helps to improve the standard of teaching and learning within schools by providing the tools to support teachers with organising their evidence for appraisal and pay progression. For more information,