The Government has announced unacceptable and detrimental changes to performance management and capability arrangements. Sarah Lyons explains.
Was Michael Gove’s choice of Friday 13 to announce his changes to performance management deliberate provocation or mere coincidence? Either way, the changes he is proposing for teachers in England will do little to endear him to the profession. With teachers being asked to work for longer, with an increasing workload, while pay is frozen and pensions cut, the new system of appraisal and capability will be seen as a further attack.
Mr Gove purports to trust and respect the professionalism of teachers, yet these punitive new arrangements will demotivate staff and, alongside other changes, gradually make teaching a less attractive profession.
What’s changing in England?
From 1 September 2012, the current regulations containing some protection will be replaced, leaving schools to determine their own appraisal policies and procedures. The statutory limits on the number of lesson observations for performance management will be removed.
The DfE has drawn up its preferred model policy on appraisal and capability for England. It has four major implications:
• Appraisal, which should be a developmental process, and capability, which can lead to dismissal, will be part of the same procedure, inevitably encouraging management to move quickly from one to the other. Much media attention has focused on Mr Gove’s desire to remove poorly performing teachers within a term. His new model policy does not include an informal capability stage, and suggests a timescale as short as four weeks for a teacher to demonstrate sustained improvement and avoid procedures leading to dismissal.
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