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School Development Service

Leadership and Management


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FAQ's Related to Setting Objectives

Question 1. When the objectives for a review are established, how and when will the evidence relating to them be collected?

At the initial discussion it will be agreed between the reviewer and reviewee what evidence will be gathered to inform the judgement about the objectives having been achieved.  This will be in accordance with the Code of Practice.  It is expected that the evidence gathering will include at least two periods of classroom observation.

Question 2. What does classroom observation involve and when will it happen?

The scheme requires all reviewees to be observed, either in the classroom or through task observation.  Classroom observation is linked to the agreed objective(s) set at the beginning of the review cycle.  It is likely that the classroom observation(s) will occur twice during the cycle and at an appropriate time interval.  It will involve the reviewer and reviewee having an agreed focus for the observation, agreeing the proforma that will be used to record.

Observation allows for information from a different perspective.  It may confirm where the practice of the teacher is good and meets the standards and expectations of the school and it may also give an insight into improving aspects of  performance.

The evaluation of the observation should form the basis of the review discussion

 Question3. Will teachers be given advance notice of classroom observation?

Classroom observation should be planned during the initial review meeting.  It is not expected that the reviewer will arrive unannounced to conduct a classroom observation.

 Question 4. What happens if, as a result of circumstances entirely beyond a teacher’s control, one or more of the objectives for review becomes impossible to achieve?

While it is expected that all the objectives agreed at the beginning of the cycle should be achieved.  The review statement will focus upon the overall performance of the reviewee and not just the achievement of the objectives.

 Question 5. When review objectives are being discussed, how will the priorities in the school development plan be balanced with the legitimate personal objectives of individual teachers?

PRSD is quite specific about the links between the school development plan and the setting of individual performance objectives.  It departs from SDPR in this respect.  PRSD seeks to align individual improvement with departmental and whole school improvement. 

Each school in its school development plan will have identified 3-5 key development priorities and it is likely that these are linked to major educational initiatives – ICT, Literacy, Numeracy, Special Education, etc.  Schools may also have identified particular priorities linked to their school’s particular context.

Each reviewer should be familiar with these areas for development.

Question 6. What will happen if a reviewee achieves two of the review objectives, but not the third?

While it is expected that all the objectives agreed at the beginning of the cycle should be achieved.  The review statement will focus upon the overall performance of the reviewee and not just the achievement of the objectives.

It is important that PRSD leads to improving quality and raising standards throughout the school.  It is recognised that setting challenging objectives leads to the individual thinking about a high performance culture and also to a greater sense of personal achievement at the end of the cycle. 

Many teachers are already working at a high performance level and this is to be encouraged.

 Question 7. What happens if a reviewer insists on setting unreasonable or unfair objectives?

The role of the reviewer is to assist and support the setting of a reviewee’s objectives. The objectives should be challenging but achievable and be informed by the school development plan.

 The reviewee has the right to record any points of disagreement within 10 working days of receipt of the completed review statement.

 Question 8. Can a school determine that there will be one objective that will be the same for every member of staff?

The scheme does not exclude a situation that all staff work towards a particular objective that is clearly a priority within the school development plan.  However it should be discussed with the individual since PRSD is essentially about the development of teachers within the context of the school development plan.

PRSD does include the idea of objectives being shared objectives which might include a number of teachers working to the same objective, perhaps as part of a school project.

 Important Note 

The reason for listing the questions is three-fold

  • they give school leaders a sense of at least some of the questions that they        can expect to be asked and for which they can prepare their responses
  • they point to the importance of providing time on the exceptional closure day or making other arrangements to enable teachers to raise these and other issues and be given clear and honest answers
  • Some of the questions that teachers may pose will relate to school based issues and can only be addressed by those in the school.  It is important that schools recognise this and perhaps begin to consider what internal protocols or systems might be developed to support PRSD in the school.

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