Is your school’s performance management helpful or harmful? Maria Cunningham looks at the evidence and explains how to make effective performance management and appraisal systems that contribute to genuine teacher development and improvement

The last two decades have seen a toxic culture of performativity pervading our schools. We have had graded lesson observations, performance-related pay, plus ever more rounds of target-setting and data collection.

Indeed, the National Headteacher Standards themselves demand that school leaders “establish rigorous, fair and transparent systems and measures for managing the performance of all staff, addressing any under-performance, supporting staff to improve and valuing excellent practice”.

But we’re certainly not the first to wonder whether all these efforts to monitor development really help teachers to grow as practitioners, or if sometimes an over-emphasis on performance management can hinder this process, stifling the individual at the chalkface.

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