We had a successful #EYTalking session on Twitter on Tuesday 6th December 2016, on the theme of safeguarding, professionalism and reflection. One of the discussions was on supervision, linked to the wider continuum of safeguarding.
Since the EYFS 2012, I’ve delivered numerous supervision sessions around the country and have written two blogs on supervision. I’m passionate about supervision and its value, if carried out effectively, in supporting the well-being and welfare of educators and supporting safe practice within a setting, as well as the positive ripple effective on children’s holistic development.
A few of the comments that came up mentioned appraisals, and as we know this has not been a requirement in the EYFS since September 2014. My view is that as appraisals are no longer a requirement of registration, I question whether there is a need to still carry out appraisals when there are other ways to measure how staff perform throughout the year and not just annually and at the mid-way review. Colleagues point out that carrying out appraisals is good practice and goes over and above what is required from a legislation viewpoint. However, I’m sure from an outcome point of view of supporting staff, that managers are already carrying out a number of daily activities that do indeed measure an educator’s performance.
A few colleagues commented that appraisals are important for a number of reasons. I still question why; we have (one-on-one) supervision in place as well as a number of systems that look at the effectiveness of the provision and the individual, for instance, the variety of rating scales, including peer-on-peer observations and observations carried out by senior staff. Never has there been a time when educators have had so much scrutiny in their everyday practice.
Within my KiSP approach, there are many opportunities for educators to reflect on their performance, from peer-on-peer moderation meetings to managers’ monitoring. This is all good practice and provides opportunities for professional discussions. I do, indeed, like to keep things simple and so have to ask: is there still a need for appraisals?
Here are a few articles that have helped me with my reflections on appraisals, note that performance reviews are the same.
My colleague, Rene Carayole, anecdotally recalls his personal experience of performance management and every year he had the same actions that he had to improve on! I know that this may not always be the case within other annual reviews, but Rene’s view is that we should also focus on an individual’s strength, rather than on what they can’t do. We know within appraisals that there is a focus on achievement. More importantly, when more and more colleagues are asking for support with educators’ well-being and welfare, surely this is a welcome step forward?
I shout from the rooftops about strengths. As a suggestion, reflecting on the need for generic job descriptions, we know there are indeed certain day-to-day tasks when working with children that need to be carried out by everyone. However, there are some tasks that some educators are passionate about and are experts in, so why not allow them to shine in that role?
Managers should indeed know which of their staff are not performing and should have in place systems to support where appropriate, for instance, exploring personal and professional development options that will impact on their day-to-day performance and if need be there may be an element of focusing on whether they are capable of doing their job.
To reiterate, regular, strengths-based and effective supervision is important, both for relationships and for providing a safe environment for the educator to communicate related issues.
I would love to hear your views on this.
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