Evidence-based and transparent CPL system makes discussions about performance-related pay much easier

Johnnie Pavey, Assistant Head at Lampton and  also Teaching School Specialist Leader of Education discusses  the  performance management and CPL programme he and his team have implemented for the school’s 120 staff, who year on year have been responsible for significant student progress or ‘value added measure’.


About the school:


Lampton in West London is an outstanding academy and was one of the first teaching schools to be established by the DfE. Described as a ‘complex urban’ comprehensive, the school is non-selective and students come from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds and fall below the national average both in terms of ability and socio-economic circumstances. 1,200 of its 1,600 students speak English as an additional language. Student achievement however is above average and the school has been deemed outstanding in challenging circumstances by Ofsted in each of its last three inspections.


Professional Learning and Performance Management


At Lampton we take Continuing Professional Learning (CPL) and performance management very seriously.  It forms an important part of our annual cycle and starts and finishes on the same day every year – in early September – when we kick off the new term with our first inset day for all teaching staff.


At this inset day we teach staff how to set SMART targets – targets that are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound.  We then ask them to perform a self audit using our BlueSky Education online performance management, CPL and self-evaluation solution for schools, so they can see for themselves how far they have progressed in their journey to meet Lampton Teacher Standards and the national teachers’ standards. This in turn informs the objectives set by their line manager.


Each member of staff is set three key objectives, focussing on:

  • Teaching and learning
  • Pupil progress
  • Professional development


Each September we look at the ‘value added’ scores from the summer – i.e. pupil progress targets rather than attainment.  Those teachers who have demonstrated good ‘value added’ measure over a defined period typically progress well up the pay scale.


So how do we do it?


At Lampton, we have developed our own secure, cloud based CPL platform, linked to our BlueSky Education online performance management, CPL and self-evaluation solution for schools.  Our staff search our site to locate courses that will help them meet their objectives for the coming year, such as teaching and learning, key skills, pastoral etc. Each course features a portrait shot of our resident expert and links to teacher standards. It then takes them through to the BlueSky platform which presents them with a route map so they can clearly see their progress and where they are in their career. A separate route map is provided for teaching assistants who have different learning needs.


Staff document all CPL in their personal eportfolio within BlueSky, which enables line managers and the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) to gauge the effectiveness of the courses and helps inform strategy planning for the coming year. Staff are required to complete six CPL courses per year. However, this system is so popular that many complete up to 16 per year. CPL is only signed off by the SLT in BlueSky after it has been completed.


The benefits of our system and performance-related pay


What is good about the system is that it is evidence based and transparent making discussions about performance-related pay much easier.


At Lampton we take a holistic approach to pay reviews. We look at:

  • ‘Value added’ measure achieved
  • Lesson observations on BlueSky
  • External and internal lesson observations
  • Line managers’ thoughts on how individuals have performed in relation to their BlueSky overviews.


Transparency is key to holding people to account and staff have warmed to BlueSky as it enables them to highlight their successes. They view it as progressive and particularly like it when it supports them to progress up the pay scale!


The significance


Most importantly, BlueSky enables staff to take ownership of their training and provides a route map for their careers. It is a really useful tool because it helps ensure that evidence of staff successes are documented and celebrated, rather than ignored. It also eliminates the need for a box under the desk with all those “well done letters” from their line managers and ‘valued added’ progression spreadsheets.


It acts as a diagnostic tool for senior leaders, warning of issues and challenges that need to be addressed before external reviews. It also clearly illustrates teaching and learning achievements in an easy to digest manner.


Most importantly, it helps the leadership team know explicitly how well their staff are doing and for them to say emphatically “we are here”.


For further information on BlueSky please click on www.blueskyeducation.co.uk