Heathfield Community College is a coeducational, 11-18 secondary school based in East Sussex with just over 1400 students on roll. Rebecca Lynch Head of CPD is responsible for the SchooliP system which was introduced to the college in 2013.
Prior to the arrival of SchooliP, Rebecca described the college’s approach to appraisals and professional development as follows:
“All of our Appraisals were completed using Microsoft Word documents. Staff would complete forms at the start of their appraisal period which would be reviewed throughout the year. Staff would be expected to collect documents and evidence to demonstrate progress towards achieving their objectives, this would need to be shared with appraisers at the end of a review period.”
A change to this system was desired and SchooliP really appealed to Rebecca and the leadership team at Heathfield.
From a management point of view, access to all staff’s performance management in one place ensured that staff performance objectives were in line with our college priorities. For our staff, the benefit was the ability to keep all their evidence, observations and reviews all in one electronic portfolio. This was highly beneficial as appraisers had easy access to the required information.
Heathfield has benefited from the SchooliP blog feature that allows staff to reflect on their practice throughout the year. Furthermore, Rebecca is very pleased with the freedom to create a bespoke lesson observation form and utilise consistent objectives throughout the college.
“The ability to design our own lesson observation form is great and we can easily analyse it too. Also, the option to pre-set objectives for staff ensures all staff are consistently developing an area of college improvement.”
Staff at Heathfield are now more confident in using the SchooliP system. Over time, we have updated our interface and we are continually enhancing the software. With this in mind, we asked Rebecca, what is the secret to success in delivering effective performance management with SchooliP?
“I would advise keeping things simple. Give staff the ability to use the range of features on the system; however, keep expectations realistic. Having pre-set objectives as well as an easy-to-use observation form ensures that staff and appraisers do not see using the system as a chore.”
A key selling point of SchooliP is that it helps to streamline processes and reduce workloads which is evident at Heathfield.
“From a management perspective, it saves me time when I quality assure lesson observation outcomes or analyse the progress towards meeting appraisal objectives. It also saves staff time when uploading evidence to appraisee work areas. They can simply ‘drag and drop’ files from their computer to their appraisal work area. This can then easily be accessed by their appraisers.”
We are delighted that Heathfield is enjoying using SchooliP and to conclude, we asked Rebecca what she would say to another educational establishment using or potentially selecting SchooliP in the future.
“I would advise senior staff and appraisers to spend time on SchooliP to ensure that they are confident in using the system. They will be the staff who are likely to be using the system more frequently than others.”
Rebecca also added:
“Utilise the ‘pre-set’ objective features, as this will ensure greater coherence between, school, department and individual priorities. Also, ensure that staff access their work areas regularly. This will enable them to blog, upload evidence, update progress towards meeting objectives or complete an interim review.”
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