Guide to Headteacher Performance Management

Performance management is not a one off event that once done allows you to tick a box. It is a key driver to school improvement and presented as a transparent shared experience, it can provide an opportunity for all staff to feel valued. This  post deals with the process for the Head Teacher.

Appraisal is cyclical

Appraising performance is a cycle of actions:

  1. Planning
  2. Monitoring
  3. Reviewing

In the case of head teacher performance management, it is for school governors to carry out the process. They are supported in this by an external advisor whose role is to focus governors on appropriate objectives and the ability to be robust in their evaluation of the success of ???


The planning of objectives (3-5)for the head teacher should refer to the context / performance of the school and it’s priorities using:

  • School improvement plan
  • Latest Ofsted report
  • School’s own self evaluation
  • Any reports from LA or in the case of academies external advisers

At least one objective should relate to school leadership with another regarding  pupil progress. Other possible areas include: Performance management

  • Improving the quality of teaching
  • Improving the use of data to inform planning
  • Securing effective subject leadership
  • Improving provision with a particular age / stage
  • Improving partnerships with parents /carers
  • Promoting community cohesion and British values

The panel should also be clear on what evidence they will use at the review to see if the objectives have been met. The external adviser will support the panel in making sure the objectives are Specific, Measureable, Achieveable, Relevant and Timely.


The panel responsible for the head teacher’s performance management needs to have a monitoring timetable throughout the year and be clear how they are going to keep an eye on progress. Mush of this will come through the head’s report to governors and presentations to the full governing body. It is important that consideration should be given to any adjustments that might be needed. Life has a way of skewing the best laid plans!


In many respects the planning meeting may also start with a review of the previous year’s objectives. It is important that this is used as a formal opportunity to celebrate the successes achieved by the headteacher. If the process of performance management has been effective, there should be no surprises at this meeting. It should be carried out in a positive atmosphere where all concerned are able to be frank, honest and open.

Following the meeting, a review statement will be produced and both the chair of panel and headteacher will be sign the agreed objectives.

Used appropriately, within a culture of support as well as challenge, the performance management of the head teacher will be the first step in establishing school improvement and a positive working environment.

Are you a head teacher? How was it for you? Share your experience below!

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