Teacher Training and Professionalism (Northern Ireland)

Performance Review and Staff Development

NASUWT is a signatory to a Centrally Agreed Staff Review and Performance Management scheme (PRSD) that came into existence in all schools in Northern Ireland with effect from 1 September 2005.

The scheme is compulsory for principals, vice-principals and all qualified teachers with the exception of those undergoing Induction and Early Professional Development. It is the only scheme accepted by unions, management and the DENI. NASUWT Representatives should guard against school-based versions of the scheme being introduced.

It consists of three distinct components:

  • Planning and Preparation – to include an initial meeting.
  • Monitoring – to include data collection and classroom observation.
  • Review Discussion – to formulate a Review Statement and set objectives for the following year.

The whole process, including training, must take place within directed time. This may require a re-ordering of priorities and a reduction in other directed time activities.

Every school must have a PRSD policy. The Model Policy issued by NASUWT totally conforms to the agreed scheme and is recommended as the appropriate policy for all schools.

Each teacher will have a Reviewer with whom s/he agrees three objectives on an annual basis. The objectives should be linked to the School Development Plan and cover the areas of Professional Practice, Pupil and Curriculum Development and Personal and Professional Development. They should also be S M A R T, i.e. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time- bound.

Principals will be reviewed by 2/3 members of the Board of Governors assisted by an External Adviser.

Classroom observations and collection of information relevant to the objectives will take place at agreed times and with agreed personnel over the course of the annual cycle. The scheme allows for a MAXIMUM OF TWO CLASSROOM OBSERVATIONS NOT EXCEEDING ONE HOUR IN TOTAL.

Should a teacher have significant responsibilities outside of classroom teaching and one of their objectives identifies this area then one of the observations may, with agreement, be replaced with a Task Observation.

Observations and data collection of whatever nature must focus on the three agreed objectives and no other aspects of a teacher's performance.

PRSD does away with any justification for the plethora of self-evaluation/review schemes that operate in our schools and as such schemes are entirely voluntary, NASUWT advises members against participation.

Appropriate resources should be provided to support the PRSD scheme and any training needs identified through the application of the process.

It is not part of the agreed scheme that teachers should cover classes whilst others are engaged in the outworkings of PRSD or the Review Process.

Only the agreed Planning Record and Review Discussion Pro-formas, contained within the PRSD scheme, should be used. As the scheme is applicable to all teachers in Northern Ireland it is grossly unfair for a member to be subjected to individualised versions of agreed documents.

There is an agreed Complaints Procedure and a Code of Practice on the Collection of Information contained within the scheme and members should familiarise themselves with these.

PRSD must be confined to work required in Teachers’ (Terms and Conditions of Employment) Regulations (NI) 1987.

  • Do not agree any Review Statement until you have taken time to consider its contents. Take it away and seek advice if you are unsure.
  • PRSD does not form part of any disciplinary procedure and schools should not attempt to link the two by using a Review Statement to instigate or support any form of disciplinary action against a teacher.
  • The Review Statement may be taken into account by those responsible for making recommendations on pay progression but it is not and cannot be the sole indicator. Any attempt by individual schools or Boards of Governors to use the statement in such a fashion will be vigorously opposed by NASUWT.