New arrangements for teacher appraisals that aim to make it easier for schools to manage their teaching staff were announced by the government last week (January 13th).
As part of the ongoing shake-up of the school system, the new measures will come into effect in September and aim to give schools greater freedom by removing the current 'prescriptive' regulations that govern appraisals.
The Department for Education (DfE) believes that the new measures will help schools get the best performance from their teachers.
Under the new arrangements, over 50 pages of 'unnecessary' guidance will be removed, along with the existing three-hour limit on classroom observations.
People in teaching jobs will now be assessed every year against the newly defined Teachers' Standards while schools will also be given an increased capability to remove consistently underperforming teachers from their positions.
Announcing the changes, education secretary Michael Gove claimed that the arrangements would allow the excellent teachers and head teachers to "do their jobs even better".
He said: "These reforms will make it easier for schools to identify and address the training and professional development teachers need to fulfil their potential, and to help their pupils to do the same."
Mr Gove added that removing the red tape surrounding struggling teachers would give schools the responsibility to deal with issues quickly and fairly.
Giving his backing to the revisions, Russell Hobby, general secretary at the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said that teachers deserve to know how they are performing and how they can develop and these measures will help.
"They are simple and flexible, firm but fair. A streamlined approach to capability will, on the rare occasions that it is needed, help schools act more decisively in pupils' interests," he said.
According to research by Sutton Trust, the majority of teachers and heads are in favour of the proposals' aims, with a November 2010 study revealing 57 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that schools did not have enough freedom to dismiss teachers who are performing poorly.
Posted by Theo Foulds