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The Performance Review of Executive Leaders in School Trusts

Understanding the Challenge; Winning Hearts and Minds – CST, BlueSky Education and Browne Jacobson LLP Guidance Paper

The performance review of the school trust CEO or Executive Leader is one of the Board’s most significant responsibilities. It is key to the Board’s leadership of strategy and values, its accountability for educational outcomes and financial health, and supports the development and well-being of the trust’s most senior employee.

Understanding the Challenge; Winning Hearts and Minds, is the first in a series of three guidance notes on the performance review of Executive Leaders for trust Boards. The series provides robust sector and role specific guidance on the principles and practices of executive performance review to support your trust’s process from end-to-end, whatever its size or stage of development.

The guidance has been developed by the Confederation of School Trusts (CST) in partnership with BlueSky Education, experts in appraisal and professional learning, and Browne Jacobson, experts in education HR and law.

What you will learn in this guidance paper

Understanding the Challenge: Before embarking on the performance review of your trust’s Executive Leader, it is essential to understand exactly why this process is so important. This guidance seeks to give a comprehensive overview of the benefits for any educational trust of undertaking an Executive Leadership review.

The regulatory requirement and winning hearts and minds: Understanding the regulatory framework under which trust Boards operate is an important starting point for recognising the strategic purpose of Executive Leader performance review. This guidance sets out guidance from the Department of Education’s  Governance Handbook and seeks to show how both regulatory and individual value can be satisfied by executive reviews.

What can go wrong: In preparing for the best outcomes of your executive performance review, it is important to be aware of what can go wrong and why. Issues with the quality of relationship, quality of evidence and review behaviours typically create the most difficulties.

Using 360 reviews and Technology: The 360 review is an extremely useful tool to support the forward planning process for the development of the Executive Leader. It provides a multidimensional view of the current competencies and behaviours of the Executive Leader, signposting conversations for areas of professional development and growth. Technology, such as BlueSky’s Brand New 360 Review tool Opal Review, can enhance and simplify the review process, adding real value to the executive performance review process, but should never be used at the expense of human interaction.

Please complete the form to download the full Information paper.

Download the guidance paper

Executive performance review enables the Board and the Executive Leader to develop clear objectives that align with the trust’s strategic priorities, agree how they will be measured, and define what good outcomes look like. This creates a framework for the Chair’s work with the Executive Leader across the year to hold them accountable for achieving the agreed goals and provide the ongoing support that will help them to succeed.

BlueSky Education for School Trusts and Groups, school trust, school improvement

BlueSky Education is a CST Platinum Partner for Appraisal, Professional Learning, Quality Assurance and Strategic Development. 


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