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The National Governance Association’s (NGA’s) latest research report draws upon a survey of 1,164 chairs of governors and trustees of state-schools in England and interviews with 10 individuals (headteachers, chairs of governors and external advisors) involved in the appraisal process.
Despite having more legislative freedom, many of the schools surveyed as part of this project continued to follow historic practices based on old regulatory procedures. Although under no obligation to do so, the findings show that: while the appraisal regulations make no reference to panel size, most respondents said that their school, including a large number of academies, put together a panel of two to three governors/trustees. Furthermore, 87% of academies surveyed still appointed an external advisor, with many maintained schools and academies who took part in the study using a school improvement partner (SIP) as the external advisor, or using an external advisor recommended by the local authority. Finally, although free to choose any time of year, the majority of respondents noted that their schools continued to conduct the headteacher appraisal in the autumn term.
While these findings are not concerning in themselves, it suggests that large numbers of schools have not actively changed the way they conduct the headteacher performance appraisal in recent years. While NGA came across many aspects of good practice in the research, the findings did reveal some areas school may consider reviewing going forward. This includes:
As part of the research, NGA gave eight recommendations to help governing boards consider ways to improve their practice based on each of the challenges identified. A summary of each objective is outlined below:
Access the full report here.
Access the executive summary here.
Published: 22/03/2018, by Tom Fellows
Last Updated: 05/09/2018, by Tom Fellows