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What are the most common mistakes which schools make in the performance management process or procedure?

What are the most common mistakes which schools make in the performance management process or procedure?
  • Not accurately characterising the problem. There can be a cross-over between poor conduct (which should be dealt with under your disciplinary procedure) and poor performance.  It is therefore important to establish the cause of the problem at an early stage.  For example, poor teaching could be due to poor performance caused by a lack of training or support, or alternatively it could be due to laziness which would be a conduct matter and it is important to identify correctly what the issues are.
  • Not raising performance problems in a timely manner. This is important because raising the problem early makes it easier for the employee to improve their performance, which is often cheaper and less time consuming than recruiting a replacement to work in your school.  It also means that the school can make a decision about the employee’s future before they achieve 2 years’ service and also prove that the employee was given a chance to turn things around which is more likely to make any subsequent dismissal fair.

    Allowing poor performance to carry on for a considerable time without any intervention can also make it more difficult to dismiss, and is very frustrating for the employer and fellow colleagues who work alongside them in school!

  • Not obtaining sufficient evidence to support the poor performance. Documentary evidence is key and should be gathered and sent to the employee in the letter inviting them to the first performance management meeting.  The evidence should then be discussed and the discussion documented in the notes of the performance hearing(s).  A dismissal risks being unfair if the investigation into the poor performance was not reasonable.
  • Not giving the employee sufficient time or support to improve. This is fact sensitive and will depend on the nature of the poor performance, the employee’s explanation, their length of service, the training they have had, and whether there have been any changes to their work etc.