Although we did get some local changes to what Gove was proposing including a separation of Appraisal from Capability and policies that were broadly similar to what we have at the moment, in the end we couldn’t agree on a couple of key points:
a) Drop ins
we wanted no mention of drop ins within the Appraisal Policy and felt that these were better dealt with within a Lesson Observation protocol, since drop-ins were not part of the appraisal process. The other unions (ATL/NASUWT) agreed with us as did the Headteacher unions: NAHT and ASCL. It would seem that only the Local authority felt that drop ins had to be mentioned within the Appraisal Policy. Therefore in every school when this gets discussed in the next few weeks we should argue either for there to be no change to existing policy (you can do this – the school doesn’t have to adopt Gove’s proposals) or argue for the new Appraisal Policy but without a mention of drop ins – which should be in a lesson observation protocol which you should also be pushing for. The NUT has a model lesson observation protocol which is used in Southwark schools.
b) Four to ten weeks – formal capability time span
We wanted a longer final phase for formal capability with ideally no time limits – the local authority argued that four to ten weeks was fair. The Headteachers’ unions thought that four weeks should be the exception and felt that six to twelve weeks (half term/term) would be adequate. NUT/ATL/NASUWT wanted something that was more flexible and individual to each case. Clearly as things stand we hope that you will also find it unacceptable that you could be potentially four weeks away from dismissal should you end up in formal capability – so when this is discussed in school this term – member after member should make the point that four weeks is not enough time to improve performance.
If you would like a union meeting on this in your school please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 0r 07983475050