Human resources

Headteacher appraisal

Headteacher appraisal 2021: COVID-19 guidance note

It is a statutory responsibility of governing boards in maintained schools to ensure that they set objectives for the headteacher as part of an annual appraisal. Academies can also adopt the process as appropriate for headteacher appraisal and this needs to be documented in the school’s appraisal policy.

The headteacher appraisal is usually carried out by an appraisal sub/group/panel of two or three governors with an external adviser being used for advice, support and to consult with regarding appropriate objectives.

The guidance remains generally the same this year but the governor appraisal review panel should take into account the latest information from the DfE in schools COVID-19 operational guidance relation to adjustments for the impact of Covid-19 on meeting the objectives set at the beginning of the year. You may also wish to take into account the joint guidance from the two main headteacher unions and the National Governance Association (NGA) on performance management and pay progression:

The guidance states….’Schools must ensure that teachers are not penalised during the appraisal process or in respect of any subsequent pay progression, resulting from restricted pupil attendance at schools and which may have had an impact on the ability of the teacher to fully meet their objectives, including where linked to pay progression

For headteachers, the 2021/22 review the panel should look at overall performance and, ‘use their discretion and take pragmatic steps to adapt performance management and appraisal arrangements to take account of the current circumstances’.

For 2021/22, we continue to advise against objectives that set targets for the ‘catch-up’ of individual pupils or groups or are based on measures related to performance tables and accountability measures, including Ofsted grades. We also advise against basing objectives or performance evaluations around the use of online or remote learning lessons or platforms However, it should be noted that the focus of schools should be to support a sustained, positive and productive engagement of pupils, with a strong emphasis on the well-being of pupils and staff.

Overall, the approach to performance management and appraisal should remain flexible to account for part or full school closures, the need for ‘blended’ remote learning and / or circumstances where members of staff may need to isolate.

Ealing schools can still use an Ealing adviser. For more information or to book an adviser please contact

Role of the headteacher appraisal panel

  • Set objectives for the headteacher
  • Appraise the performance of the headteacher, assessing their performance in the role against the headteacher standards 2020 (GOV.UK website) and their performance objectives.
  • Assess the headteacher’s professional development needs and the actions needed to address them
  • Make a recommendation on a headteacher’s pay progression, where relevant. This must be done by 31 December
  • Give the headteacher a written report of his/her appraisal, which include assessments and the decision on pay
  • Determine the appraisal period that applies. In most cases this will be 12 months, unless the headteacher is employed on a shorter fixed-term contract
  • Set objectives which will contribute to improving the education of pupils

Details on the headteacher appraisal process can be found in the DfE governance handbook (section 6.6.6)

Useful documents

* Login required: To view the guidance you will need to have an EGfL user account. If you do not have a user account, email

Headteacher appraisal guidance 2021/22*(word) Overview of the process, the roles of the headteacher appraisal panel and external adviser and useful templates for recording information.

Headteacher performance related pay / appraisal check list (word)
Check list for governors and senior leaders.

London co-ordinators of governors services
Aide memoire for headteachers and senior leaders.

LCOGS template exemplar report to the governing board (from the headteacher) on teachers’ performance and pay recommendations.

Appraisal of co-headteachers

Appraisal arrangements for co-headteachers should apply on the same basis for full-time staff and part-time staff and job-sharers. The purpose of this is to ensure that both part-time and full-time staff have equivalent and fair access to developmental support and feedback.

Executive headteacher appraisal

If a headteacher is employed at more than one school, each governing body must ensure that appraisal arrangements are put in place for the time they spend at their school.

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Last updated: 18 Feb 2022