The performance management cycle for teachers is different in each school.  Some schools now call it appraisal or reviews.  It is a process of tracking and improving performance.  In an ideal world, it should be a two-way process, with the school looking to see how the leadership can build your career, as well as challenging you to work smarter for the school.  In reality, for some, it is an onerous process that feels punitive and pressurised – made worse by the attaching of pay progression to the outcomes.

The important point to remember is that this is an evidence based process.  The evidence collected is not just the responsibility of manager running the appraisal or review.  You can also participate in gathering evidence of your performance over the year.  This means that you should make a note of all the courses you have participated in.  You should undertake your own analysis of your classes’ performance and you should collect example of students’ work and your marking.  In short, you should have a performance management folder.

Your manager will come to the meeting with evidence too.  They will have watched you teach, whether in an official observation or as part of a learning walk.  The manager may also have chosen to use “drop ins.” Although “drop ins” do not officially form part of your review, it will have helped form your manager’s judgements about your performance.  This is something that union representatives and senior leaders struggle over, but let’s face the reality, these things happen.  No middle leader needs to borrow a hole punch that many times… they are, of course, informally getting a mood for your room.

Your manager will also have analysed your results.  Good leaders will ask you to contextualise the results and use the data as a starting point for a discussion.  However, most schools now insist that targets are measurable by outcomes.  Therefore, there may be little that the manager can do to change whether a target is met or not.  However, they will be able to write notes on the paperwork to support your case and use this to build an argument for pay progression.

You should attend the meeting with your future targets already written and the support you need from the school to achieve these targets.  Schools are obligated to do all they can to support you attain your targets.  However, these aims need to align with the organisational goals of the school.  Therefore, even if you have a good idea how you want your career to develop in the next year, your manager may be restricted by the focus the senior leaders envisio

The most important advice: if you feel at all uncomfortable you can ask for representation to sit with you in the meeting and you can ask a senior leader to repeat any observations. You need to control the process as much as you are able.