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Staff Performance Development

Our Trust is committed to enabling each staff member to contribute to the best of their potential and to develop that potential in each member of staff through their working career. Staff work with pupils, enabling all to ‘have life and have it to the full’ John 10:10.

Our schools are professional learning communities, where all members of staff expect and are expected to be active learners, to reflect on and improve their professional practice and by doing so enable the Trust Vision for Learning to be realised. Within our Trust we have an Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) Research School, Notre Dame, and we are committed to using evidence to inform all aspects of our work, to the benefit of our pupils. We seek to identify and apply ‘best bets’ from education research, in terms of how each school is led at all levels. Specifically, we take an evidence-informed approach to Staff Development, as set out in our 'Staff Performance Development Systems' document. All our schools are expected to follow the systems as set out in this document.


Why call it Staff Performance Development (SPD)?

We aspire for our Performance Management processes, which include Appraisal, to be Developmental and positive experiences for all our staff, hence we prefer in our Trust to use the overarching term Staff Performance Development to include all aspects of this employer / employee relationship. SPD provides a formal but genuinely developmental structure to celebrate successes and to support staff improvement. It encourages learning from mistakes and building on strengths for continuous growth and development. We want every member of staff to view the management and support of their performance as a positive process, with aspirations to continually improve for positive reasons, and not to feel it is a management led judgemental and stressful challenge simply related to pay outcomes.

Our SPD system forms a key element of a wider People Strategy.


An evidence-informed approach

SPD within the Trust is rooted in the judicious use of evidence. We aim to:

  • Be learning focussed not outcome focussed;
  • Divorce accountability from development;
  • Develop fair and useful SPD processes;
  • Develop processes that form a continuous chain of activity, as opposed to one-off meetings;
  • Ensure that SPD processes enable a two-way conversation that involves listening;
  • Ensure that staff are praised for what is working, that they keep doing it and enhance that practice;
  • Develop goals for staff that are SMART; that predict potential setbacks and plan for these; that directive, energise and increase knowledge;
  • Monitor progress towards goals and support through coaching and mentoring.

We also aim to avoid the following:

  • A system that judges factors outside of an employee’s control;
  • Overly specific numerical targets;
  • Any system that overwhelmingly contributes to the ‘fear culture’ of a school;
  • Accountability that may cause staff to ‘only get done that which is measured’;
  • Goals that aren’t aligned to the Trust’s and individual School’s aims.


Staff Development Principles

The Trust has signed up the Julian Teaching School Hub Staff Development Charter and associated principles, which has been developed to support colleagues to grow and develop as great professionals. In so doing, the Trust commits to an evidence-informed approach to staff development which should support schools in realising their strategic aims and priorities through improved recruitment, development and retention of staff.


Staff Performance Development cycle