What appraisal targets could be set for headteachers, if governing boards want to avoid numerical targets. 

I thought it might be useful for people if I posted a couple of examples of targets I’ve supported governors to set in HT appraisals. I’m doing around 25 of these this year and I’ve done 4 so far as at 12th Sept. One appraisal was done before the summer holidays. My overall thoughts about this process, which I deem to be extremely important for schools, as staff targets should follow from HT appraisal, IMO, can be found here.

I always try to steer Governor Boards’ appraisal committees away from setting numerical targets. The reason being that if you set a target of say, progress +3.0 for Writing at KS2, or a progress 8 of +3.0 for KS4, if the school achieves +2.5 on either, despite some potentially excellent work, the HT fails the target. That’s pretty unfair.

Instead I encourage GBs to set targets in comparison to national norms, using words like ‘in line with’ (broadly average, to translate i.e. no significance), or ‘above’ or ‘rising towards’. This gives ‘wriggle room’ to both the HT and GB, to assess performance. Here’s a primary example (Q of T, L&M and a HT personal target would come later; this is about pupil outcomes). The target areas are based upon RAISE main areas. As the Ofsted framework focuses on progress and not attainment, I steer GBs away from attainment targets, if I can, which are cohort ability dependent:


Objective A1. Early Years.

Ensure that the proportion of children with a Good Level of Development (GLD) is at least in line with 2016 national norms and ensure children make better than expected progress across Early Years. (Although this compared to an attainment measure, GLD, it is mitigated by the progress mention – HT would be expected to evidence this, as there is no national measure of progress across EY…..yet)


ObjectiveA2. Y1/Y2 Phonics Screening.

Ensure that the results in the phonics screening test are at least in line with 2016 national norms and that pupils have made good progress in phonics since joining the school (Again, although this compared to an attainment measure, it is mitigated by the progress mention – HT would be expected to evidence this, as there is no national phonics progress measure)


Objective A4. Progress across the school

Ensure that pupil progress in most year groups, in most subjects (Re, Wr and Ma) and in most groups of pupils, is rapid and that progress is at least in line with national norms in Y6. (the language in the italicised sections can be altered to be appropriate to the school’s current position)

And here’s a secondary example

  1. Pupil Outcomes 

KS4 Progress

A1. Ensure that the 2016 KS4 progress 8 measure is at least in line with national norms. Could suggest, maybe; ‘are above’, or ‘in line with’, or ‘above’ .

A2 Ensure that no major subjects dips significantly below national progress norms (Or, perhaps ‘all major subjects are above national progress norms’). 

A3 Ensure that disadvantaged pupils progress scores are closer to the 2016 (as we won’t have 2017 at the time of the next appraisal round) national progress norms for progress of ‘other pupils’ (Ofsted will be looking to compare to national norms for all pupils, not to close the in-school gap)

 KS5 Progress

 A4 Ensure that KS5 progress overall and in a majority of subjects improves from 2016.

Overall, however, it down to GBs to set targets, not me. My level of support, in helping them, varies from effectively writing all the targets for them, to moderating targets that have already been set before I arrive (The best way – just brilliant and exactly where the process should be! This process is a responsibility of governors, not the HT and not the external advisor). My role, as external advisor, is to ensure fairness for the HT and yet ensure a stretching target is set by the GB. It makes for interesting meetings!

I hope this helps any HTs, or GBs reading and do use my ideas, or employ some of these targets if you wish. Please tweet, DM, or email me if you wish to ask further questions. I’ll always help with any school-specific comments, if I can. ??