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appraisal/ assessment in public sector workplace

(28 Posts)
Fennel Sun 17-Nov-19 20:40:04

When I retired in the 90s this was just starting. We had to fill in daily forms about how much time we spent in the office, driving around, coffee and toilet breaks etc. I hated it - it seemed like they didn't trust us.
One of our daughters is a teacher (20 years) and rang today to say she was worried because she was being checked and observed because of her performance in one lesson where she wasn't told that the observer wasn't satisfied.
This appraisal thing seems to be everywhere - not long ago I was asked for my opinion of my healthcare provider. Where does it come from?
I'm so glad not to be working in the public sector now.

rafichagran Sun 17-Nov-19 20:47:53

It's the same where I work as well, most of it is a waste of time.
I am sure your daughter is very good at her job OP and some of these appraisals can be done by box tickers.

Yehbutnobut Sun 17-Nov-19 20:50:25

I understand why people need to be appraised but wish it was done more in a more positive manner.

grannyactivist Sun 17-Nov-19 20:51:07

I’m 66 and there has never been a time in my working life when I have not had my work observed, supervised or appraised. My work history was in Early Years Education, then Counselling, Social Work, Training and Teaching. I think it’s a very good thing and the whole appraisal system has moved on hugely in recent years.

Marydoll Sun 17-Nov-19 21:09:11

Until I retired from teaching in a senior position four years ago, we were appraised in the classroom three times a year.
Much of it was ticking a box, but it could still be stressful for the most experienced teachers.

We have all had lessons, which have gone pear shaped, the skill is in turning it around.
It should be an appraisal of her teaching across the board, not based on just one lesson.

I'm sure your daughter will be fine and her head teacher should know her well enough to realise it was a blip.

GrandmaMoira Sun 17-Nov-19 21:10:21

Appraisals can be good if well done and in the spirit of helping people develop in order to move upwards, but my experience is that they are usually tick boxing or, if you have a bad boss, an excuse for them to put you down.

GagaJo Sun 17-Nov-19 21:19:19

Teachers are observed on average about 3 times a year. Some schools can increase this to once a month.

Experienced (older) teachers are often hounded out of their jobs through continual observations BECAUSE they are highly paid in order for the school to hire TWO newly qualified teachers for the same price. I've seen it happen and it's happened to me. These can be teachers with students who achieve outstanding results.

Callistemon Sun 17-Nov-19 21:23:20

It has always been the case.
In many sectors, your pay, and ultimately your pension, may depend on your assessor (often your line manager) and dependent upon your relationship with them.

Pantglas2 Sun 17-Nov-19 21:24:00

Sounds shocking to me GagaJo - can you claim unfair /constructive dismissal when that happens? Surely it’s counterproductive if school results suffer through inexperienced/poorer teaching?

GagaJo Sun 17-Nov-19 21:30:57

It's all about money now Pantglas2. Since UK schools were academised, it has all become about profit. I briefly worked at the school with the highest exclusion rate in the UK. I was too expensive so was bullied (part of which took the form of constant observations) until I left. No point fighting it. They have all new teachers now. Results have gone up because they kicked out ALL of the low achieving students.

Urmstongran Sun 17-Nov-19 21:47:28

Our youngest daughter is 39y and teaches full time. She is Key Stage 1 lead and is on the senior lead team. She has been teaching now for 14y and with 2. Young children at home (the baby is coming up for 3y) she finds it all tiring & it can be incredibly stressful.

She is being observed next week. Hates it every time!

Yet as she says it goes with the territory. She earns just shy of £40k a year and has just had a pay rise of £180 p.m.

Then there are the lovely school holidays when she gets her best time to be with her own children....

Swings and roundabouts I suppose.

Callistemon Sun 17-Nov-19 21:50:31

Gagajo I remember this happening many years ago with experienced teachers I knew and a new HT.

grannyactivist Sun 17-Nov-19 21:54:30

I run a small charity, but we always ask for feedback from our clients. How else can we improve the service if we don’t seek to understand their experiences?

I have observed some very poor teaching in my time, but have always striven to give constructive feedback. Similarly, when supervising social workers, appraisals have always been about helping people to explore their strengths and weaknesses.

However, I’ve always been in a position where I’ve trusted my supervisor and found it a very positive experience, which I know not everyone has. I can think of some people that I’ve worked with that I would not want to be observing or supervising my work. 😮

annodomini Sun 17-Nov-19 21:55:33

To be precise, Gagajo, UK schools were NOT academised. English schools were academised. Scotland has a completely separate system. Many, if not most, Scottish secondary schools have always been called academies. I went to one myself more than 60 years ago.

wildswan16 Sun 17-Nov-19 21:57:43

Knowing you are being appraised can feel stressful, but is certainly necessary. I'm sure we can all remember at least one teacher who was hopeless, and who had no idea how to manage their class. It does ensure that all our children have an effective teacher. Although I agree that it is often a tickbox exercise.

The same goes for doctors, nurses, etc etc. Nobody should be able to continue their employment if they are failing in their task, and the only way to discover that is often observing and reporting the result. It should hopefully be seen and carried out as a positive rather than negative.

BlueSapphire Sun 17-Nov-19 22:04:20

I was a teacher too and just hated appraisal. It felt as though whatever you did it wasn't quite good enough, and there was always something found fault with. (And this with 30+ years experience). And the hoops we had to jump through to get onto the upper pay scale - I think they called it the threshold. My DH had always had annual appraisals right from when he started his job in the late 60s, and then eventually it became his turn to appraise others and I think he disliked that even more!

Callistemon Sun 17-Nov-19 22:06:02

anno no Welsh schools are academies either.

GagaJo Sun 17-Nov-19 23:04:10

I was a teacher too and just hated appraisal. It felt as though whatever you did it wasn't quite good enough, and there was always something found fault with.

Exactly. It's so obvious, that any teacher whose students get good results must be a good teacher. But if you cost too much, you're drummed out regardless.

grannyactivist Mon 18-Nov-19 01:27:09

I think part of the problem is exposed in the language used. Talk about ‘finding fault’ for instance, rather than looking at ‘areas for improvement’. I’m sure that appraisals can be done very badly and in a way that tears people down, rather than build them up, but most appraisals nowadays follow a fairly well defined protocol that looks at performance as a whole. I think the problem is not that people are subject to appraisals, but that they may be being used for purposes outside of their original intention.

When I set up my charity I built in a system where my role is regularly scrutinised and I am accountable for mine and the organisation’s actions. I have an informal system of appraisal for my staff, which I know they see as a benefit

QuaintIrene Mon 18-Nov-19 01:45:46

I worked in local government. I had to account for as good as every minute of my time . But that was down to my manager who was an all round control freak. I can see the benefit of appraisals, but everything I did could always be improved. I wasn’t given credit for what was well done. I could rant about it all but I am retired.
I still have anxiety dreams. It wasn’t worth it all.

sodapop Mon 18-Nov-19 08:51:47

I think we all benefit from having our work appraised from time to time, especially the people who use our services. How can things improve if people are not told where they are less than successful and conversely praised for the things they are doing well. It does depend on the person carrying out the appraisal how well or not this works.

oldgimmer1 Mon 18-Nov-19 08:57:53

An appraisal is not necessarily a negative process. Done well, it should be a two-way discussion of training needs, abilities and, of course, performance issues.

To be frank, I think your daughter is lucky to have escaped thus far!

If she has issues with the appraisal system, she should take these up with her Union or workplace representative.

Also suggest she could google People Management website or similar for examples of good appraisal practice.

Pantglas2 Mon 18-Nov-19 09:22:51

You’re post made me smile QuaintIrene as in my last job we had a boss who would find fault whenever he came on site once a month.

After a few visits I realised that it was just his management style and he used it as a motivational tool. I suggested to the team that they gave him something innocuous to discover and point out to us.

We could then say ‘Noted’ and correct it and he went away happy that he’d been able to keep his team on the right track!

ginny Mon 18-Nov-19 09:52:22

It’s not just teachers and the public sector that have appraisals. They are carried out in just about any workplace. As others have said they should be a positive experience to help one grow and improve in any particular role. If anyone has concerns about the way their appraisal is carried out or feels they have been unfairly judged the they should report it. A good ‘leader’. should be assessing his/her staff all the time and noting their strengths and weaknesses, making them aware and helping to address them.

Witzend Mon 18-Nov-19 10:00:59

I once took pleasure in correcting (in red pen!) a basic spelling mistake on the printed appraisal form my manager had to fill in for me. There were only 4 of us and it was a cosy, collaborative process - yes, it was public sector.

However the biggest waste of time, which probably cost the council a great deal of money, since it was provided by an outside agency, was the 'training' (I use the word loosely) in Health and Safety and Equality/Diversity - every last council employee had to do it.

It was done online, and consisted solely of multiple choice questions, 4 answers per question. If you guessed wrongly, it came up with a cheery, 'Not quite right, try again!'

Each took 20 mins max - it was a complete joke.
But never mind, we were all 'trained'.