DES Circular 12/91 (1991)

This circular explained and provided guidance on the 1991 Education (School Teacher Appraisal) Regulations, which were made under section 49 of the 1986 Education (No 2) Act.

The text of DES Circular 12/91 was prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 7 October 2021.

Circular 12/91 (1991)
School Teacher Appraisal

Department of Education and Science
London: 1991
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

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Circular 12/91
24 July 1991

Elizabeth House York Road London SEI 7PH



1. This Circular explains and provides guidance on the Education (School Teacher Appraisal) Regulations 1991 (1). The Regulations, which have been made under section 49 of the Education (No 2) Act 1986, come into force shortly.

2. The guidance contained in this Circular does not constitute an authoritative legal interpretation of the Act nor of the Regulations: that is exclusively a matter for the Courts.

3. The Circular is designed to encourage and achieve good practice in schools. It draws on the recommendations of the National Steering Group on School Teacher Appraisal (2) (NSG). Bearing in mind the responsibilities laid on individual teachers and schools, sufficient copies of the Regulations and of this Circular are being sent to LEAs to enable them to send one copy of each document to every LEA maintained school.


4. The appraising body will be responsible for all the aspects of appraisal set out in the Regulations. The LEA is the appraising body for county, voluntary controlled, voluntary aided, special agreement and maintained special schools. The governing body is the appraising body for grant-maintained schools.

5. Subject to their own responsibilities, appraising bodies will wish to give schools scope within the Regulations to put in place arrangements for appraisal. It would be appropriate for the governing body to approve the school's arrangements.

6. All arrangements for appraisal within the framework of the Regulations should be drawn up in consultation with teachers. Dioceses should also be consulted about the arrangements for the appraisal of teachers at voluntary aided schools of their denomination.

(1) SI 1991/1511

(2) School Teacher Appraisal. A National Framework: Report of the National Steering Group on the School Teacher Appraisal Pilot Study. HMSO 1989 6.95

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7. The Regulations apply to all qualified teachers, except probationary teachers, employed on contracts of at least one year's duration to work full-time, or at least 40% of full-time, at a single LEA maintained or grant-maintained school. The Regulations and this Circular use the term "school teachers" to denote the teachers to whom the appraisal requirement applies.

8. Teachers and head teachers are required by their statutory conditions of service to participate in appraisal arrangements made in compliance with the Regulations. (3)

9. The Regulations do not apply to articled teachers, licensed teachers, other unqualified teachers, supply teachers, probationary teachers, teachers working less than 40% of full-time, advisory and specialist/peripatetic teachers or teachers in non-maintained special schools. Nevertheless those responsible for managing such teachers may wish to consider how far appraisal arrangements comparable with those which apply to teachers within the scope of the Regulations can be applied to them, unless that would duplicate other arrangements.


10. The aims of appraisal are set out in Regulation 4.


11. Appraisal should be set in the context of the objectives of the school, which will generally be expressed in a school development plan. Appraisal should support development planning and vice versa. The school's objectives in a particular year should be linked with appraisal, so that, for example, professional development targets arising from appraisal may be related to agreed targets and tasks in the development plan. Similarly appraisal targets, when taken together, should provide an important agenda for action for the school as a whole. Targets set during appraisal should therefore meet the needs of the school as well as those of individual appraisees. Setting appraisal within the framework of school development should also ensure that targets are realistic and make the best use of available resources.


12. The Regulations provide for appraisal to take place on a two year cycle.

13. The appraisal cycle should start afresh if a school teacher moves to a post in a different school. If a school teacher moves to a new post within the same school, there is discretion as to whether to start the appraisal cycle again or carry on with the existing cycle. Much will depend on how similar the responsibilities of the new post are to those of the old post, the stage during the appraisal cycle at which the move takes place, and whether the appraiser would have to change.

(3) See paragraphs 30 and 35 of the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document 1991.

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14. If a school teacher is

  • substantively promoted to head teacher in the middle of the appraisal cycle, whether in the same school or not, the appraisal cycle should begin again;
  • given acting promotion to head teacher in the middle of the appraisal cycle, the Regulations leave the appraising body with discretion as to whether to start the appraisal cycle again, or to continue with the current cycle.


15. The timetable for the introduction of appraisal in the Regulations is intended to secure an orderly phase-in, whilst leaving appraising bodies with some flexibility. The two key targets for the appraising body in Regulation 6 mean that

i. a number of school teachers equal to half the number of school teachers for whom they were responsible on 1 September 1991 must complete the first year of the appraisal cycle at some time during the school year 1992/93 (ie they must have had their observation and appraisal interview); and

ii. all school teachers for whom they were responsible on 1 September 1991 must complete the first year of the appraisal cycle during the school year 1994/95.

How to set about meeting these targets is a matter for the appraising body. Introducing half of all school teachers in Years 1 and 3 taken together and Years 2 and 4 taken together will avoid major fluctuations in long term costs. The Secretary of State will pay Education Support Grant within the Grants for Education Support and Training programme on the costs of introducing appraisal, to cover training and the operational costs of the first cycle of appraisal for all teachers. 10m of expenditure is being supported in the 1991-92 financial year and it is proposed that a further 14m will be supported in 1992-93. It is expected that a similar level of expenditure as in 1992-93 will be supported in 1993-91 and 1994-95. School teachers who were not the responsibility of the appraising body on 1 September 1991 should start their first appraisal cycle on or before the start of the academic year 1995/96.

16. If a school becomes grant-maintained during the phase-in period, the Regulations require all school teachers who have started the appraisal cycle to continue with it without a break. Because of the change of appraising body, other school teachers in such schools will not be caught by the deadlines in Regulations 6(1) and 6(2). By virtue of Regulation 6(4), all such school teachers will have to be the subject of appraisal from 1 September 1995. Schools which become grant-maintained may introduce their school teachers in advance of this deadline if they wish.


17. Appraisal must operate, and be seen to operate, fairly and equitably for all school teachers. Appraisers should bear in mind their responsibility under the law not to discriminate

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on grounds of sex, race or marital status in the way in which they conduct appraisal; and the dangers of stereotyped expectations which result in a biassed approach.

18. Training for appraisal, appraisal itself and professional development generally should be used positively to promote equal opportunities by encouraging all school teachers to fulfil their potential. Appraisers should, for example, actively encourage all school teachers, including women teachers and teachers from the ethnic minorities, who have management potential to consider applying for management posts.


19. The appraiser is entitled to appraise performance across the full range of professional duties undertaken, including temporary responsibilities. Appraisal should be undertaken on the basis of an established job description.

20. Appraisal is likely to be more purposeful if it focusses on specific areas of a school teacher's work. This will be particularly so with the appraisal of head teachers, deputy heads and other teachers with a wide range of managerial duties.


21.Wherever possible the appraiser should already have management responsibility for the school teacher. In view of the responsibilities associated with the role of appraiser, appraisers should, in most circumstances, be responsible for no more than about 4 appraisees. Where, as a result of applying these guidelines, a school teacher will not be appraised by a person who already has management responsibility for him or her, the head teacher should appoint as appraiser a person who is in a position, by virtue of his or her experience and professional standing to ensure that the appraisal serves the needs of both the school teacher and the school.

22. It is the head teacher's responsibility to select the appraisers of school teachers in his or her school. However, head teachers should not refuse requests from staff for an alternative appraiser if there are particular circumstances which suggest that this might be appropriate. Such circumstances are likely to be exceptional.


23. It is recommended that LEAs delegate decisions on the selection of the appraisers of head teachers in schools they maintain to the Chief Education Officer (CEO). LEAs may wish to consider whether the CEO should have some guidelines, approved by the LEA, to assist in the exercise of this responsibility. The Regulations provide for the governing body to be responsible for selecting the appraisers of head teachers of grant-maintained schools.

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24. The requirements in Regulation 8(4) have implications for the selection of the appraisers of head teachers of middle schools and nursery schools. Middle schools are formally designated as either primary or secondary schools: Regulation 8(4)(a) or 8(4)(b) will therefore apply as appropriate. However it is recommended that where the appraisee is the head teacher of a middle school, the appraiser appointed under Regulation 8(4) should, wherever possible, also be the head teacher of a middle school. Nursery schools are formally designated as primary schools: the selection of appraisers for the head teachers of such schools will therefore fall under Regulation 8( 4)(a). However it is recommended that where the appraisee is the head teacher of a nursery school, the appraiser appointed under Regulation 8(4)(a) should, wherever possible, have experience of early childhood education.

25. In the case of head teachers of county, voluntary controlled, voluntary aided, special agreement and maintained special schools, one of the two appraisers should normally be an officer or adviser of the LEA. Both appraisers should normally be present at both the initial meeting and the appraisal interview. Regulation 9(3) allows observation of the appraisee in the classroom or performing other duties to be undertaken by either one or both of the appraisers. If only one of the appraisers is involved in this observation, it is recommended that this appraiser should be the one who has relevant experience as a head teacher under Regulation 8(4).

26. Governing bodies of denominational voluntary aided schools are advised to consult the relevant diocese about the selection of the appraiser who is not an LEA officer.

27. In the case of special agreement schools in which the head teacher has reserved teacher status, it is recommended that the LEA should consult the governing body about the selection of appraisers.

28. Head teachers should not be able to choose their appraisers but great care should be taken in the matching of appraisers with appraisees. Requests from appraisees for alternative appraisers should not be refused where the circumstances suggest that they might be appropriate, for example, where the interests of an appraising head's school may be in conflict with those of the appraisee's school.

29. Serving head teachers should not be required to act as an appraiser for more than three other head teachers at a time.


30. Deputy heads are covered by the arrangements for the selection of appraisers in respect of school teachers, except for the special provision in Regulation 8(6). This permits, but does not require, the head teacher to appoint two appraisers where that is considered appropriate by the appraising body. The head teacher will normally be one of the appraisers. Where the appraising body wishes deputy heads to have two appraisers, head teachers of voluntary aided schools should consult the governing body about the selection of the second appraiser.

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31. Appraisal involves the evaluation of the professional performance of an appraisee by the appraisee and an appraiser together, and the establishment of targets for future action and development. The components of appraisal for school teachers and head teachers respectively are set out below: together they constitute a single appraisal programme.

School Teachers

32. The components of appraisal for school teachers should be as follows:

    classroom observation,
  • an appraisal interview, in which targets for action are established;
  • the preparation of an appraisal statement;
  • follow up, including a review meeting between the appraiser and appraisee.
The process may also include an initial meeting between the appraiser and the appraisee, self-appraisal by the appraisee and, after consultation with the appraisee, collection of data from sources other than classroom observation.

The Initial Meeting

33. It may be helpful for appraisal to begin with a meeting between the appraisee and the appraiser to plan and prepare for the appraisal, particularly if the appraiser is unfamiliar with the appraisee's post.

Self Appraisal

34. As part of their preparation for the appraisal, school teachers should be encouraged to recognise the value of self-appraisal and to carry it out. Self-appraisal is not compulsory. Where it is carried out it should inform all other aspects of the process, in particular the appraisal interview.

Classroom Observation

35. School teachers should normally be observed teaching for a total of at least one hour, spread over two or more occasions.

36. Observers should have a clear understanding of the context in which an observed lesson is given. They will need to ensure that they are fully briefed by the appraisee before observation begins. Observers should also discuss their impressions of the lesson with the appraisee after the observation. They should normally aim to do this within two working days of the observation.

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Collection of Information from Other Sources

37. Classroom observation is only one source, albeit a particularly important one, of information. Other sources should also be taken into account, including the work and progress of pupils.

38. In collecting information about a school teacher's work, including non-teaching duties, appraisers should follow the Code of Practice on information collection at Annex A. The Regulations require the appraiser to consult the appraisee if he or she is going to consult other people to obtain information which is relevant to the appraisal. During such consultation, appraisees should be given the opportunity to express their views about the principle of collecting information from the particular people involved and the method of collection. In the case of head teacher appraisal, it is likely that appraisers will wish to seek information from governors, parents and, in the case of LEA-maintained schools, LEA officers or advisers. Appraisers are unlikely to wish to do likewise in the appraisal of other school teachers, save in special cases such as, perhaps, a teacher with a special responsibility for home-school liaison, although they may well wish to seek information from other teachers at the school.

The Period of Information Collection

39. The collection of information for appraisals, including classroom observation, should normally be completed within half a term. The information itself may relate, as appropriate, to the whole of the period since the last appraisal and may be obtained through the normal processes of management, as well as through ad hoc collection. The appraisal interview should take place as soon as practicable after the collection of the information. Enough time should be allowed between classroom observation and the appraisal interview for appraisers and appraisees to reflect adequately on the observation. Where a session of observation takes place a long time before the appraisal interview, the observation and the immediate post-observation discussion should be adequately recorded.

The Appraisal Interview

40. The interview should provide an opportunity for genuine dialogue. It should involve:

  • further consideration, if necessary, of the job description;
  • review of the school teacher's work, including successes and areas for development identified since the previous appraisal;
  • discussion of professional development needs;
  • discussion of career development as appropriate;
  • discussion of the appraisee's role in, and contribution to, the policies and management of the school. and any constraints which the circumstances of the school place on him or her;

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  • identification of targets for future action and development;
  • clarification of the points to be included in the appraisal statement.
41. Appraisal interviews are most likely to be successful when the following conditions are met:
  • both appraiser and appraisee are well informed and well prepared for the interview,
  • discussion takes into account the areas on which information gathering has focussed; and
  • the interview is free from interruptions.
42. Targets for future action should relate to the professional performance, training and development of the school teacher. They should take account of available resources and support and should be designed to help, not inhibit the school teacher. They should be precise, realistic and capable of being monitored. The appraiser and the appraisee should aim to agree on the targets to be set. If agreement cannot be reached, the appraiser is able to decide the targets, subject to the entitlement in the Regulations for the appraisee to record comments on the appraisal statement within 20 working days.

Head Teachers

43. The components of appraisal for head teachers should be as follows:

  • an initial meeting between appraisee and appraisers;
  • task and 'or classroom observation,
  • an appraisal interview, in which targets for action are established;
  • the preparation of an appraisal statement;
  • follow up, including a review meeting between the appraiser(s) and appraisee.
The appraisal may also include self appraisal by the appraisee, and the collection by the appraisers of information from sources other than classroom or task observation.

Preparatory work

44. Since they will not be on the staff of the school, the appraisers of head teachers may need to begin by acquainting themselves with the context and manner in which it operates. The Code of Practice on the collection of information at Annex A identities key information which should be available to appraisers of head teachers at the start of the appraisal programme.

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Initial Meeting

45. The purposes of the initial meeting should be:

  • to consider the head teacher's job description, in the context of the school's policies and development plan;
  • to agree the timetable and scope of the appraisal, identifying any areas of the appraisee's job on which the appraisal might focus;
  • to agree arrangements for any classroom observation;
  • to agree on the methods other than classroom observation by which information for the appraisal should be collected.
46. The selection of areas of focus for the appraisal should be balanced: it is important that key aspects of the head teacher's work are not neglected over a long period.

Self Appraisal

47. The guidance in paragraph 34 in relation to teachers applies equally to head teachers.

Collection of Information

48. Information for head teacher appraisals may be obtained from the following sources:

  • publicly available data relating to the work of the school, including the school development plan and any other school policies; appraisers may also wish to obtain information from the head teacher's reports to the governing body;
  • task and or classroom observation,
  • staff, governors, parents and, in the case of LEA maintained schools, LEA officers or advisers, after consulting the appraisee about whom information is to be collected from and how.
In collecting information about the work of head teachers appraisers should follow the Code of Practice on information collection at Annex A.

49. It is not necessary for every appraisal of a head to involve classroom observation, particularly where the teaching commitment is small and infrequent. However it is recommended that head teachers should normally be observed in the classroom if their current responsibilities include teaching on a regular basis. If an appraisal does not involve classroom observation, the Regulations require at least one of the appraisers of a head teacher to observe performance of some other duty (task observation). Appraisers may of course opt for both classroom and task observation.

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The Period of Information Collection

50. The period of information collection in the case of head teachers should not normally be longer than one term; the appraisal interview should take place as soon as possible thereafter. The remaining guidance in paragraph 39 in the case of school teachers applies equally in relation to head teachers.

The Appraisal Interview

51. The guidance on the appraisal interview in paragraphs 40-42 above applies equally to head teachers.


52. Appraisees are entitled to record their own comments on the appraisal: any such comments should form part of the appraisal statement and should be recorded within 20 working days. Subject to any such comments, it is recommended that the statement form should invite both the appraiser(s) and the appraisee to indicate that they are content with the statement.

53. The Regulations .provide for targets for action set at the appraisal interview to be recorded in a separate annex from the record of discussion at the appraisal interview: together the two will form the appraisal statement. The appraiser and appraisee should each have their own copies of the appraisal statement. In addition the Regulations provide for the head teacher to be supplied with a copy of the whole statement. The head teacher should, on request, supply the chairman of governors (not all governors) with a copy of the targets for action of school teachers and the CEO or his or her representative (in the case of LEA maintained schools) with a copy of the whole statement. The appraisers should automatically supply the CEO or his or her representative (in the case of LEA maintained schools) and the chairman of governors with a copy of the whole appraisal statement of the head teacher. Any review officer(s) appointed to consider a complaint by the appraisee should be supplied with copies of the existing statements.

54. The targets for professional development and training should, where appropriate, be separately forwarded to those responsible for planning training and development at school and (in the case of LEA maintained schools) LEA and, where appropriate, Diocesan level.

55. All those with access to appraisal statements should treat them as confidential. The Regulations specify who is entitled to access to the whole or part of the appraisal statement. Beyond this statements should not be disclosed to any person or body without the consent of the appraisee save in very exceptional circumstances, such as where the statement is relevant and necessary for the fair disposal of legal proceedings or for a police investigation. Legal proceedings means only a Court or Tribunal.

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56. The Regulations permit those who have access to appraisal statements to draw on relevant information from them in taking, or advising others on, decisions about pay, promotion or disciplinary matters. The head teacher in grant-maintained schools or in schools with delegated budgets, or the CEO (or designated officer or adviser) in all other cases may therefore draw on relevant information from statements in making their own decisions or in advising the LEA or governing body as appropriate. The Regulations do not confer on LEA members or members of governing bodies (other than the chairman) a right of access to appraisal statements themselves.

57. Documents produced during an appraisal,other than the appraisal statement, should be destroyed once the statement has been finalised. The Regulations require the appraisal statement for anyone cycle to be kept by the head teacher for at least three months after the next appraisal statement, prepared during the course of the next cycle, has been finalised. This is to allow time for any complaint to be registered by the appraisee and for the complaint to be considered, so that the review officer(s) may have access to at least two appraisal statements. Appraisal statements may be kept on file for longer than the minimum period set in the Regulations. The appraising body will wish to consider what its policy should be: the NSG considered that it would normally be sensible to retain statements on file for the equivalent of two complete appraisal cycles. The appraisal record will comprise all existing appraisal statements.


58. Both the appraisee and the appraiser(s) have a role in follow-up. The appraiser(s) should assist the appraisee to achieve targets, either by way of advice or other means. Systems should be in place to assist the appraiser(s) in this role.

59. The review meeting should take place in the second year of the programme (but not too close to the next appraisal interview). Its purposes should be:

  • to review the progress of the appraisee and/or the school in meeting targets set at the appraisal interview;
  • to consider whether those targets are still appropriate;
  • to consider, where appropriate, the usefulness to date and potential future use of any training undertaken since the appraisal;
  • to provide an opportunity for the appraisee to raise any particular issues relating to his or her work
  • to consider the career development needs of the appraisee.
The appraiser and appraisee should record, on all copies of the appraisal statement, the fact that the meeting has taken place, any modifications to professional targets which have been decided and the reasons for those modifications. Appraising bodies may wish to include other sorts of follow-up in their appraisal programmes.

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60. The circumstances in which school teachers work and the range of responsibilities they exercise vary considerably. Appraisal should be set clearly within the context of the professional duties as set out in the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document, the appraisee's own work and job description. It should not be designed to provide a simplified account of the appraisee's performance against a set of fixed criteria of good practice.

61. However, as noted in paragraph 11 above, appraisal should take account of the policies of the school and the school development plan. In addition, if it is to be effective appraisal must be conducted against the background of a broad common understanding of what is expected of school teachers and head teachers. LEAs and the governing bodies of grant-maintained schools should set out clearly for appraisers and appraisees the criteria against which performance in teaching and management should be considered. In doing so they should take account of national and, in the case of LEA maintained schools, local policies for education, including the National Curriculum, the publications of HMI relating to good teaching, and, where appropriate, the work of teacher training institutions. LEAs should consult Dioceses about the criteria for the appraisal of teachers at voluntary aided schools of their denomination.

62. The governing bodies of aided schools may wish to supplement LEA guidance with their own guidance relating to the curricular and other aims of their schools; other LEA maintained schools should also be given this opportunity. All guidance should be prepared in consultation with school teachers.


63. Certain minimum requirements for complaints procedures are set out in the Regulations. Beyond this complaints procedures are formally a matter for the appraising body but the appraisee should be allowed the right to a hearing at which he or she may, if he or she chooses, be accompanied or represented by a friend. If a school teacher registers a complaint but there is nobody within the school judged to be impartial and who could act as the review officer, the appraising body may have a role in finding a suitable review officer from outside the school. If the complainant is the head teacher of a voluntary aided school, the governing body should consult the appropriate Diocese about the selection of the review officers. The appraising body should ensure that a statement of procedures for making complaints is made available to appraisees on request. Complaints procedures for appraisal should be clearly separated from disciplinary and grievance procedures.


64. The Regulations provide for governing bodies of LEA maintained schools to secure compliance in their schools in the appraisal arrangements as far as is reasonably practicable and to assist the LEA as appropriate. As far as possible it should be for schools to make the detailed arrangements, with the approval of the governing body (see paragraph 5 above).

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65. When appraisal has been introduced governing bodies should make sure that they are informed on a regular basis, by means of reports from the head, that appraisal is operating properly in accordance with school and LEA policy and that it is properly integrated into the management of the school. Subject to the need to avoid the attribution of targets to individuals, the head's report should set out a summary of the targets for action for appraisees decided at appraisal interviews, and progress in achieving past targets.

66. In the case of both LEA maintained and grant-maintained schools the governing body should be informed when information is being collected for head teacher appraisal. The chairman of the governing body should have an opportunity to submit comments to the appraisers designed to inform the appraisal interview. The Regulations require the appraisers to consult the appraisee if they intend to obtain information from governors for the appraisal: such information should be collected in line with the Code of Practice at Annex A.

67. In some cases the implementation of proposals deriving from appraisal or the allocation of resources for this purpose may require a decision by the school's governing body. In such cases the proposals, and the reasons for them, should be reported in full to the governing body to enable that body to take a properly considered decision taking into account competing claims on resources.


68. Where a school teacher is performing inadequately, normal day-to-day management will often reveal this. However appraisal may be one, although not the only, opportunity where inadequacies in performance can be discussed with a senior colleague and remedies suggested - whether through guidance, counselling, training or other means. Appraisal should be clearly separate from disciplinary procedures: these separate procedures should be used where the school teacher's continuing employment or any other form of disciplinary offence is at issue. In disciplinary procedures, persons entitled to access to appraisal records may draw on relevant information from them, where appropriate, in line with Regulation 14.

69. Chairmen of governors sitting on any sub-committee of the governing body which considers an appeal from a member of staff against a dismissal or disciplinary decision are advised to take care not to prejudice their impartiality as a result of having seen, and taken action, on any appraisal statement which is drawn on in the proceedings. The Department's view is that chairmen who had merely seen the whole or part of the appraisal statement, but taken no action upon it, might still serve at the appeal stage. However chairmen may have prejudiced their impartiality and, on grounds of natural justice, should take no pan in the appeal stage if they had taken or discussed follow-up action to the statement with others involved. The Department's view is that there is no obstacle to chairmen sitting on the governors' sub-committee which takes the initial disciplinary or dismissal decision. In these circumstances chairmen would have done no more than seen in advance some of the material drawn on for evidence.

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70. There will be no direct or automatic link between appraisal and promotion or additions to salary. But it is legitimate and desirable for head teachers to take into account information from appraisals, along with other relevant information, in advising governors on decisions on promotions and pay. The same principle applies to advice CEOs offer for schools without delegated budgets.


71. The Department will be seeking information from LEAs and governing bodies of grant-maintained schools to confirm that the targets for the introduction of appraisal specified in Regulation 6 have been met. Appraising bodies are advised to keep records of progress in the introduction of appraisal with this in view. At school and LEA level, arrangements should be made for monitoring and periodic evaluation of appraisal arrangements, including the extent to which appraisal reflects the principles in relation to equal opportunities set out in paragraphs 17 and 18.


To: Local Education Authorities

The Governing bodies of
Grant-Maintained Schools

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1. This guidance and Code of Practice covers the collection of information for school teacher appraisal other than through classroom observation.

General principles

2. Information collection for the purpose of the appraisal of a school teacher should be designed to assist discussion in an appraisal interview having the purposes set out in paragraph 40 of the Circular.

3. Where it has been agreed that the appraisal should concentrate on specific aspects of the appraisees job, information collection should likewise concentrate on those aspects.

4. Appraisers should act with sensitivity to all concerned and should not exhibit any bias in collecting information.

5. Those giving information should not be put under any pressure save that of relevance and accuracy.

6. General comments should be supported by specific examples.

7. Interviews for the purpose of information collection should be held on a one to one basis.

8. Any information received anonymously should not be used.

9. Information which does not relate to the professional performance of a school teacher should not be sought or accepted.

10. Appraisees should not adopt an obstructive attitude to reasonable proposals for the collection of appropriate information.

11. Neither appraisers nor appraisees should act in any way that is likely to threaten the trust and confidence on both sides upon which successful appraisal depends.

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Background information

School teacher appraisal

12. The school teacher's appraiser must be familiar with relevant national and, in LEA maintained schools, LEA policies and requirements. In grant-maintained schools, the appraiser must be familiar with the policies of the school's governing body.

13. The appraiser will also need to acquire a range of background information appropriate to the appraisee's wider professional responsibilities, for example, the school's statements of aims and objectives, pastoral arrangements, equal opportunities policies, or departmental policies.

14. The appraiser should obtain copies of the school teacher's job description.

Head teacher appraisal

15. The head teacher'S appraisers must be familiar with current national and, in LEA maintained schools, LEA policies and requirements with regard to curriculum, special needs, equal opportunities, staffing and cover, disciplinary and grievance procedures and other such matters relating to school management. In grant-maintained schools, the head teacher'S appraisers should familiarise themselves with equivalent policies and requirements of the school's governing body.

16. They will also need a wide range of background information about the school and its context including:

  • the school development plan;
  • curricular policies,
  • general organisation and deployment of staff; composition and organisation of the governing body;
  • links with home, outside bodies and other schools;
  • the pattern of meetings with staff and with parents;
  • school activities and routines including assessment and recording systems, examination results, calendar of events;
  • staff appraisal and development arrangements and arrangements for induction and probation;
  • financial and management systems.
This information will need to be assembled by appraisee heads, who may provide any supplementary information they wish.

17. The appraisers should obtain copies of the head teacher's job description.

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Other guidance to the appraiser

18. The appraiser should aim to agree with the appraisee at the initial meeting what information it would be appropriate to collect for the purpose of the appraisal, from what sources and by what methods.

19. When interviewing people providing information as part of an appraisal, the appraiser should explain the purpose of the interview and the way in which information will be treated.

20. Those giving information should be encouraged to make fair and considered comments which they are prepared to acknowledge and to substantiate if required.

21. Any written submissions should remain confidential to the author, the appraiser and the appraisee.

22. Those offering significantly critical comments should be asked to discuss them directly with the appraisee before they are used as appraisal information.

23. Except where personal opinion is specifically sought (for example where an appraiser is attempting to gauge staff reactions to a particular innovation), care should be taken to ensure that information is sought and presented in an objective way.