Human resources

Headteacher appraisal

Headteacher appraisal 2020: Covid 19 guidance note

The guidance remains the same but the governor appraisal review panel should take into account the information from the DfE in Guidance for the full opening of schools relation to adjustments for the impact of Covid 19 on meeting the objectives set at the beginning of the year.

We would expect schools to use their discretion and take pragmatic steps to adapt performance management and appraisal arrangements to take account of the current circumstances. 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. 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:.

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.

The process for both teacher and headteacher appraisal 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.

Governors will need to satisfy themselves that the external adviser has the skills, experience and objectivity to provide them with advice and support.

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 relevant national standards of excellence for headteachers (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 6.5.7)

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 2020/21*(word) Overview of the process, the roles of the headteacher appraisal panel and external adviser and useful templates for recording information.

Headteacher standards – comparison between new standards (January 2015) and previous standards (2004) (word)

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 body (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 Sep 2020