Appendix A to Annex A
AN ASSESSMENT OF THE EARLY OPERATION AND INITIAL
IMPACT OF THE PERFORMANCE THRESHOLD
AN EVALUATION OF THRESHOLD ASSESSMENT
Schools and non standard settings in England
A REPORT BY THE DfES QUALITY ASSURANCE UNIT
TEACHERS PAY AND PERFORMANCE DIVISION
Background paragraphs 1-6
SUMMARY paragraphs 7-16
RECOMMENDATIONS paragraph 17
THE IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS IN SCHOOLS IN ENGLAND
The eight standards paragraphs 18-36
Teachers’ discharge of their role paragraphs 37-41
Team leaders’ discharge of their role paragraphs 42-43
Headteachers’ discharge of their role paragraphs 44-50
THE IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS IN NON STANDARD SETTINGS
Background paragraph 51
The eight standards paragraph 52
Teachers’ discharge of their role paragraph 53
Team Leaders discharge of their role paragraph 54
Service Heads' discharge of their role paragraph 55
1. The Government, as part of its framework of National Standards for teachers from QTS
to headship, introduced in 2001 a performance threshold for experiencd teachers. Those
teachers who could demonstrate that they met the Threshold Standards would be entitled to
move to a higher pay scale.
2. In summer 2000, those teachers who were eligible to cross the threshold and wished to be
assessed had to submit application forms, presenting evidence to show that they met all of the
eight standards set out in the form. The headteacher of each school was then responsible for
assessing each application and deciding whether the teacher had met all the standards. The
validity of the headteacher's assessment was then verified by an external assessor through the
Threshold Assessment process.
3. In order to ensure that the threshold assessment process was carried out with rigour and
consistency, the DfEE set up a Quality Assurance Unit within the Teachers Pay and Policy
Division. To assist it in its work, the Unit employed a number of Quality Assurance Advisers
(QAAs) to carry out a sample of 1000 monitoring checks: 250 through visits to schools
alongside assessors together with subsequent scrutiny of documents, and 750 through
scrutiny of documents alone.
4. The selection of QAAs was based on the need to secure a wide range of professional
expertise. Individuals invited to join the team come from a variety of backgrounds: serving
headteachers of successful schools, experienced inspectors and advisers from LEAs, former
HMI , Ofsted registered inspectors and teachers on secondment to DfEE.
5. The introduction of threshold assessment has been an enormous undertaking which
affected nearly 25,000 primary, secondary and special schools, including British schools
abroad, and local authority services which employ teachers ie non-standard settings (NSS).
The preparations for the majority of teachers and heads were compressed into a relatively
short period from March to July 2000 while the verification and quality
assurance processes were also compressed into the period between November 2000 and
6. This report draws on evidence derived from those parts of the of the Quality Assurance
Unit's monitoring checks which relate to the policy implementation process in schools. All
records derived from monitoring schools in England were analysed and, in addition, reports
of visits were made to non-standard settings in LEAs and to SCE schools in Germany and
Cyprus were also included. Further visits were also made to LEAs and to other schools to
assess the impact of the threshold assessment process in retrospect. This stage 1 report
summarises the findings of all this evidence. A second stage report, reflecting an extended
evidence base, will report more fully on non-standard settings and on schools in Wales.
Introduction of the process
7. The Threshold Assessment process is, in practice, part of the wider Government policy on
Performance Management in Schools. That Threshold Assessment preceded the introduction
of the Performance Management Policy as a whole, attracted criticism and made threshold
assessment more difficult the first time round. Furthermore, its introduction within a relatively
short period of time was exacerbated by the delay resulting from judicial review. That it was
finally introduced successfully is testimony to the hard work and professionalism of many
thousands working in and with schools, including trainers and external assessors and, above
all, teachers and headteachers.
8. Much has been learned from the first round of applications and the results of this will feed
into the next rounds. Also, the process of threshold assessment will in future be integrated
within arrangements for performance management. Future generations of teachers applying
to cross the threshold are, therefore, likely to find the completion of their applications, and
the provision of evidence, a much less daunting task.
9. Although there are eight standards within five areas, the three relating to teaching and
assessment are grouped together, as are the two on teachers‟ wider professional
effectiveness. This has caused some confusion as to whether there are, in fact, five rather
than eight standards.
10. Teachers generally interpreted the standards accurately and cited appropriate evidence
although many teachers felt that some standards were too difficult to evidence fully and
effectively. Two standards caused the greatest problems: Standard 3 - pupils’ progress
and Standard 5- teachers’ professional characteristics. In respect of pupils‟ progress, a
minority of teachers struggled to provide evidence. This was mainly because they, and some
headteachers, used evidence of attainment, such as the results of SATs and examinations,
and year-on-year improvements in results, as a proxy measure of progress. Paradoxically,
many of these teachers were able to provide relevant evidence of progress, rather than
attainment, during the external assessor‟s visit. In respect of their professional characteristics,
teachers did not find it easy to match their evidence to the five characteristics listed, and
analytical thinking was often neglected.
11. Most applications were thorough and comprehensive: they showed teachers‟ secure
grasp of the eight standards and included well-chosen evidence. During the threshold
assessors‟ visits, teachers typically provided an extensive amount of additional evidence; in
the best practice, they presented files of evidence or portfolios which were clearly labelled
12. There were some recurrent weaknesses in a minority of teachers‟ applications. Some
misinterpreted two of the standards ie.pupils’ progress and professional characteristics,
others made assertions unsupported by evidence, or used evidence which was out-of-date
particularly in relation to knowledge and understanding, or insufficiently specific to
themselves. These weaknesses can be remedied with additional training and guidance.
13. Overall, headteachers have done a difficult job well, within tight time constraints, with
professionalism and integrity. Those who adapted most easily were those who perceived the
requirements of threshold assessment as part of their normal management function, whose
schools were already reasonably data-rich, and had well-established processes of
monitoring, evaluation and review, and performance appraisal.
14. There were some recurrent weaknesses in the way a minority of headteachers managed
the process: for example, some misunderstood some of the standards; a few had not
scrutinised applications with sufficient care; some provided only generalised comments on
applications and some failed to record areas for development. However, these too can be
remedied with further guidance and greater experience, particularly within the arrangements
for performance management. A few headteachers did avoid making hard decisions and left
it to the threshold assessor to do so. However, it was more usual for such headteachers to
be genuinely unsure about what to do with teachers whose evidence left them on the
borderline between „met‟ and „not yet met‟; in this circumstance, they appreciated a
professional dialogue with an independent assessor.
15. In this application round, headteachers have not always made full use of team leaders in
the management of the applications process and of senior managers in the process of
assessing applications. Nor have many headteachers called on senior staff during the
verification visit by the assessor. Without this fuller involvement of senior staff the effective
implementation of performance management is likely to be slowed down.
16. Although the introduction of threshold assessment has been rushed and not without some
initial difficulties, the vast majority of teachers, headteachers and assessors has approached it
professionally. Competent teachers were able to show that they had met the standards;
some competent teachers who lacked the evidence to meet all eight standards should be able
to do so in a future application. Despite some substantial initial reservations, many teachers
have, when reflecting on the process some months later, found it helpful to describe their
performance and to identify what needs to be done in the future to make further progress.
They have also been reassured by the subsequent positive recognition.
17. In order to help teachers to complete their applications more easily, it is recommended
that additional guidance, with examples, is provided by DfES on the meaning of, and
evidence relevant to, the standards concerned with pupils‟ progress and teachers‟
The guidance to teachers and headteachers should also emphasise the importance of:
identifying and locating evidence to be submitted for Threshold Assessment in the
period leading up to a threshold application;
reading carefully the rubric associated with each standard in order to ensure that all
aspects are understood and appropriately covered;
citing evidence tightly focused in standards;
retaining or copying evidence when pupils transfer to other schools;
securing supporting written evidence from the former headteacher when a teacher
moves from one school to another;
basing lesson observations on clear, consistent criteria which can be related to the
signposting in their application forms where the headteacher and the assessor can find
the evidence cited.
THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROCESS IN SCHOOLS IN ENGLAND
How teachers handled the eight Standards
18. Although some teachers had difficulty with interpreting the individual standards, the
majority of teachers clearly understood there were eight standards, brigaded under five
headings, and were able to provide a wide range of illustrative evidence, succinctly
expressed, to demonstrate that they met each standard. The best practice, reflected in many
applications, thoroughly covered the specification for each standard and cited the sources of
evidence, as documented in the DfEE‟s Guidance on Completing the Application Form and
the Threshold: Prompts for Teachers.
19. It is not surprising, in this first round of applications, that a minority of teachers
experienced some difficulties in demonstrating that they met each standard. These difficulties
are explained below in some detail so that future cohorts of applicants may benefit, but the
extent of the detail should not detract from the overall picture which was one of generally
well-completed application forms. Some areas of weakness not specific to a particular
teachers making assertions - for example, „I plan for differentiation‟ - without
supporting them with evidence or a reference to a source of evidence ie a signpost
in the text to where the supporting evidence can be found;
teachers occasionally, misplacing text: that is, locating it under the wrong standard.
This is not to deny that there are legitimate cross-references between standards, not
least between the Standard 1 (knowledge and understanding) and the Standard
4(i) (taking responsibility for one’s own professional development) it did,
however, make the assessment and verification processes more difficult;
recording evidence not drawn from the past two to three years and instead relating
instead evidence from earlier years; conversely, evidence occasionally relating to the
period following the completion of the application, or intimating that future
experiences would provide the necessary evidence;
using judgements from a recent inspection which did not refer directly to the
With the provision of additional guidance these are all easily remediable.
Standard 1: Professional Knowledge and Understanding "Please summarise
evidence that you have a thorough and up to date knowledge of the teaching of your
subject(s) and take account of wider curriculum developments which are relevant to
20. Overall, teachers did not find it difficult to summarise evidence of how they had extended
their subject knowledge through training and other forms of professional development.
Participation in national training strategies such as literacy, numeracy and information and
communication technology (ICT), were often cited. Numerous teachers mentioned other
curriculum developments relevant to their work, such as education for citizenship, but
occasionally this wider aspect of the standard was neglected. A considerable minority of
teachers went into detail about their initial training and degree qualifications even though the
guidance on completion of the application explicitly refers to the need to cite evidence
derived only from the previous two or three years.
21. Effective applications drew upon a wide range of evidence which included: recent
qualifications obtained; recent training in one or more National Curriculum subjects and in the
literacy and numeracy strategies; active membership of professional associations; feedback
on applicants‟ subject knowledge from OFSTED inspections or other lesson observations.
Standard 2 : Teaching and Assessment
2. (i )"Please summarise evidence that you consistently and effectively plan lessons
and sequences of lessons to meet pupils' individual learning needs"
22. Teachers generally found it straightforward to provide ample references to their short-
and medium-term planning, and how they adjusted plans to take account of individuals and
groups. Most also referred to how they communicated their learning objectives to pupils, but
a minority of applications omitted reference to arrangements for homework although the
evidence, in teachers‟ records and pupils‟ homework diaries, was usually made available
during the assessor‟s visit. Sometimes, teachers struggled with this standard because their
schools‟ arrangements for planning were poorly developed. The one significant limitation to
the evidence teachers provided was that it related too often to the current academic year
rather than to the three years prior to the completion of the application form.
Evidence of planning on a corporate basis ie at the subject level, was at its most fully
developed in primary and special schools.
2 (ii ):"Use a range of strategies for teaching and classroom management"
23. Many teachers were able to cite evidence of their classroom strategies for motivating
pupils, and maintaining good behaviour. They did this by reference to lesson plans and
teaching materials, to the use they made of classroom assistants, technicians and parents, to
documents relating to pupils with special educational needs, eg. Individual Education Plans
(IEPs) and to evidence derived from lesson observations. Where the latter had been
undertaken within clear consistent guidelines to common standards they provided particularly
strong evidence to support teachers assertions. In some schools where lesson observation
was embryonic, however, teachers were not so well-supported and they found it harder to
demonstrate their expertise on this standard.
2 (iii) :"Use information about prior attainment to set well-grounded expectations
for pupils and monitor progress to give clear and constructive feedback"
24. Many teachers could cite their assessment policy and practice to show how they used
information about pupils‟ prior attainment to set targets and help pupils to make progress.
They generally covered well their arrangements for reporting to pupils, parents, the
headteacher and other managers or team leaders. Schools are increasingly becoming data-
rich: not only do they use information from Standard Assessment Tests and other national
assessments, but they are developing their own baseline measures and other internal
assessments in the search for school improvement. In these schools teachers were able to
demonstrate their progress on this standard. However, teachers found this standard more
difficult to deal with if they were working in schools with embryonic systems for monitoring
and recording pupils‟ performance.
25. Lesson observation is clearly a major source of evidence for demonstrating teachers‟
classroom competence. There were, however, considerable differences amongst the
applications in respect of the use of lesson observations carried out by headteachers and
other line managers, by advisers or inspectors. The evidence was secure not only when
observations had been carried out by several people, but particularly when the criteria for
their judgements were clear and explicit and applied consistently across all teachers in the
school. Evidence this secure could therefore be related to this and other threshold standards.
Conversely, teachers found this standard more difficult to deal with if they were working in
schools with limited, very recent experience of monitoring teachers‟ performance through
Standard 3: Pupils’ progress "Summarise evidence that as a result of your teaching
your pupils achieve well relative to their prior attainment, making progress as good
or better than similar pupils nationally"
26. Of all the standards, this was the one for which the applications were weakest and it was
clear that a sizeable minority of teachers found it difficult to distinguish between attainment
and progress. Numerous teachers cited the results in national tests and examinations as
evidence of progress: for example, „the May 2000 year 4 optional tests compared with 1998
and 1999 showed that pupils have made consistent progress‟, and „their GCSE results in
1999 were 80% A*-C, 24% above the national average‟. These statements demonstrate
attainment, not progress: year-on-year improvements in Standard Assessment Tests or
GCSE results, and favourable comparisons with the national averages are presented as
evidence of pupils‟ progress when they manifestly are not. In other cases, teachers
compared their results with those of similar schools (drawn from the Performance and
Assessment Data for Schools).
27. To demonstrate this standard, teachers must know what is the attainment of their pupils
when they first arrive in their class, and what is the attainment at the point they move to
another teacher. The change in pupils‟ attainment between arrival and departure constitutes
the progress they have made during their time in the class. In all circumstances, the teacher
must be able to demonstrate their contribution to that progress. The Performance and
Assessment Data for Schools and national test results alone will not do this.
28. Some teachers did not try to provide measures of their pupils‟ progress but rather
described the processes or systems they use in school to measure progress. Such comments
were more relevant to Standard 2 (iii),using information about prior attainment to set
well-grounded expectations for pupils and monitor progress to give clear and
29. In the event, these difficulties in articulating how much progress pupils had made were
less serious than they initially appeared to be before the visits to schools took place. Thus,
while this section of the application form was often not completed convincingly, schools did
have the relevant evidence and this was produced for the assessor on the day of the visit.
Time and time again, by thorough preparation and skilful negotiations with headteachers,
assessors were able during their verification visits to see and verify evidence of progress
located in school records. The latter included sources such as reading records, spelling tests,
optional Standard Assessment Tests, Individual Educational Plans, internal and external
examinations, and systems for measuring the value added by teachers, such as Performance
Indicators in Primary Schools, A Level Information System and Year Eleven Information
System. Secondary school teachers of non-core subjects, for which there are no national
assessments prior to GCSE examinations, were able to demonstrate pupils‟ progress through
regular internal assessments, including periodic formal reviews of pupils‟ performance. In
several schools, particularly primary and special schools, assessors discovered sophisticated
systems for monitoring and recording individual pupils‟ attainments, systems to which
applicants had made no reference whatsoever. Some teachers in special schools had been
needlessly apprehensive about whether their evidence on progress, without the results of
Standards Assessment Tests and external examinations, would stand up: it did.
30. In some of those schools where applications were very poor on this standard, the root
of the problem was not that teachers did not have access to evidence of their pupils‟
progress but rather that they were not required to use the data on a regular basis to inform
their teaching and so were inexpert in using that evidence and in citing it on their application
forms. In other schools, however, the collection and compilation of data was not as fully
developed as it needs to be to allow teachers to display their contribution to pupils' progress
effectively. This sometimes reflected the stage of development of data analysis in the LEAs
of the schools concerned.
31. Some applicants were teaching in schools with a high turnover of pupils. In those
schools, where arrangements had been made for the assessment of pupils on entry, progress
could be measured and teachers used this evidence in their applications. A few schools had
not, however, undertaken such assessments and the teachers were disadvantaged as a
Standard 4 Wider Professional Effectiveness
4(i):"Summarise evidence that you take responsibility for your professional
development and use the outcomes to improve your teaching and pupils' learning"
32. Teachers found it easy to display evidence of training and other forms of continuing
professional development , but more difficult to demonstrate how they had shared the
outcomes of this with others or how particular aspects of their classroom practice had been
changed as a result of training. Even where change in practice was clear in teachers‟ minds
some found it difficult to articulate this on paper. There were some indications that schools
also had difficulty in assessing the effects of training and development, that is, schools usually
had extensive arrangements for the continuing professional development of the staff, typically
related to the school development plan, but their practice was not always so well- developed
in respect of assessing the effect of the training and development. Teachers also noted the
potential for repetition and overlap between this standard and standard 1.
4 (ii):" Summarise evidence of your contribution to the policies and aspirations of
33. This standard was generally handled well by teachers. Most provided a wide range of
examples of their contribution to the school‟s development, including participation in the
preparation of the school policies, and school or departmental development plans. Other
sources of evidence regularly mentioned were: liaison with parents, governors and the wider
community; involvement in initial teacher training and mentoring of newly qualified teachers;
and visits to other schools. Many also cited extra-curricular activities, although participation
in such activities was not necessary to meet the standard.
Standard 5: Professional Characteristics
"Show how you challenge and support all pupils to do their best through inspiring
trust and confidence, building team commitment, engaging and motivating pupils,
analytical thinking and positive action to improve the quality of pupils' learning "
34. This standard links closely to the evidence presented on the other standards but it
appears, from the applications, that teachers found it difficult to interpret the wording in terms
of their everyday activities in schools, Some teachers found it difficult to show evidence of
such things as confidence building and, as a result, there was a tendency to make assertions
without supporting evidence. However, headteachers‟ supporting statements were helpful
and often put the flesh on the bones of the assertions. Nonetheless, either rewording of the
standard, or additional concrete guidance, would help considerably.
35. It was not necessary to provide evidence of all five characteristics within this standard
and, in practice, teachers often neglected analytical thinking. In a few cases, teachers
assumed that this referred not to their analytical thinking but rather to the steps they took to
encourage pupils‟ thinking. Although analytical thinking was an omission in several
applications, it was not decisive because teachers had ample evidence of the other
characteristics; but it was an unfortunate omission. Teachers, as a matter of routine, are
regularly identifying and solving problems related to, for example, the management of pupils‟
learning, the appropriateness of resources for learning, pupils‟ behaviour in the classroom and
playground, and the use of accommodation. Often, without describing it as such, they
summarise the evidence, work out possible cause/effect relationships and propose solutions
or improvements. In sum, it is the expression „analytical thinking‟ which was the hurdle rather
than that teachers never think analytically.
Teachers’ discharge of their role
36. Overall, teachers approached the task with professionalism, and it is clear that the
majority had devoted many hours to the completion of their application forms. The latter is
understandable given that this was teachers‟ first experience of threshold assessment. The
time required in the future should be much less once performance management is integrated
within schools‟ systems. That said, the commitment, if calculated in terms of the financial
reward over a teacher's career is well worth the effort expended.
37. Concise, well-evidenced applications were underpinned by effective training and support,
both formally and informally, within schools and local authorities. The vast majority of the
application forms revealed a sound grasp of the eight standards although, as indicated above,
pupils’ progress and professional characteristics were sometimes misunderstood.
Teachers did not generally struggle to find evidence; rather the problem seemed to be that of
summarising concisely an embarrassment of riches. There has been no foundation to initial
fears that evidence of teachers‟ performance is too ephemeral to enable them to complete
38. Many teachers were successful in presenting their evidence: sometimes this was by
word-processing their forms, although the formatting of the forms was not always stable and
caused considerable frustration. Handwritten forms which presented evidence succinctly,
such as by using asterisked points, were equally successful as word-processed applications.
However, many teachers regretted the lack of space on the forms: they thought it an
unnecessary restriction when the point of the exercise was to demonstrate basic professional
competences rather than just précis skills.
39. During the threshold assessors‟ visits to schools teachers typically provided
supplementary evidence for the assessor. Much of this further evidence was extremely well-
presented, with helpful labelling and cross-referencing. In the best practice, teachers had
already organized examples of their evidence in annotated files or portfolios.
40. There were several common features of the applications that were less secure including:
assertions made without reference to evidence;
evidence which was not specific to the classes taught by the applicant. It was
sometimes assumed that improvements in a school‟s results, or school-wide
judgements from an OFSTED report, were necessarily applicable to the applicant‟s
lack of clarity on the part of some applicants about the meaning of the standards and
consequent mislocation of evidence under the incorrect standard. Of all the
standards, that on pupils’ progress was the most problematic. The reason for this
was sometimes because the school‟s systems for monitoring pupils‟ performance,
and using performance data, were themselves weak.
Team leaders’ discharge of their role
41. There is little evidence on the role of team leaders, including deputy headteachers, key
stage co-ordinators, heads of faculty and subject co-coordinators, being directly involved in
the assessment of applications. In the evidence derived from primary schools there were only
isolated references to headteachers making use of deputy heads in the evaluation of
applications. In secondary schools, deputy heads and team leaders had, rather more
frequently, routinely monitored and evaluated the work of colleagues through lesson
observation, the scrutiny of pupils‟ work and the examination of planning files and so on. In
primary schools it was much more likely to have been the headteacher alone who would have
undertaken the assessment of applications .
42. Rather more frequent references were made in primary reports to deputies providing
training for teachers in threshold assessment and to other senior staff acting as consultants
and providing mentoring to groups of staff. The work of deputies and team leaders in training
and mentoring staff was also fairly common in secondary schools. It was also evident that
many teachers in schools of all types worked with colleagues in their own and other schools
to complete the forms. And there is already some evidence that teachers who demonstrated
that they met the standards are acting as consultants or mentors to colleagues in the current
round of applications.
Headteachers’ discharge of their role
43. Overall, headteachers were effective in briefing their teachers on the process, the eight
standards and how to complete the application form.
44. The majority of headteachers‟ comments on the application forms were generally
informative: they included details of their sources of evidence, including those additional to
sources cited by the applicants, and were explicitly evaluative about the applicants‟
performance on each standard. That some headteachers were assessing a very large number
of applications, yet managing to comment in detail on each standard, is testimony to their
hard work and professionalism, even though some were not personally convinced about the
timing of the introduction of the process.
45. For some headteachers, the whole process had been unprecedented in scale and very
demanding. Those who adapted most easily were those who perceived the requirements of
threshold assessment as part of their normal management function, whose schools were
already reasonably data-rich, and whose schools had well-established processes of
monitoring, evaluation and review, and where performance appraisal included lesson
46. Despite this overall positive picture, there were some recurrent weaknesses in the way a
minority of headteachers managed the process. In these cases, the deficiences included :
partial and/or confusing training given by heads to staff;
undifferentiated, even identical, comments on each standard and on all applicants;
personal statements unsupported by evidence; and the
omission of areas for candidates‟ further development.
47. Like their colleagues, some headteachers‟ understanding of the standards was
insufficiently accurate, particularly pupils’ progress which was confused with attainment.
One headteacher, for example, used the descriptors “excellent progress”, “very good
progress” and “progress good” without exposing the evidence supporting these fine
distinctions in the value added by the teachers to pupils‟ performance.
48. It is also clear that, in a minority of cases, headteachers were ducking out of difficult
judgements. These headteachers‟ judgements were sometimes expressed in obfuscating
language, a code which threshold assessors had to interpret. In other cases, there was a
clear mismatch between the judgement that the applicant met a standard and deficiencies in
the recorded evidence or in the headteacher's own written comments. In one school the
headteacher assessed that a teacher met the standards provided that certain things were done
in the future.
49. It is important not to let these cases distort the overall picture. Of course, assessors have
occasionally disagreed with the initial judgement of a headteacher, but that is the nature of
external moderation or verification. Such disagreements do not necessarily mean that
headteachers have done a poor job; they simply confirm the role of external verification in
ensuring that judgements in all schools are as consistent, and therefore as fair, as possible.
THE IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS IN NON-STANDARD SETTINGS
50. Non-standard settings are typically local education authority (LEA) services which
employ qualified teachers for specialist purposes. These include home tuition services,
assessment centres, pupil referral units and peripatetic music services and sensory impairment
services. Sometimes these services employ large numbers of teachers whose work can be
spread over several schools. These arrangements potentially cause problems for the service
managers who are responsible for threshold assessment.
At this stage the evidence of threshold assessment in these settings is very limited.
Teachers discharge of their role
51. Within the limitations of the existing evidence, the indications are that the teachers coped
well with meeting the standards, even when evidence was difficult to find. In a pupil referral
unit, for example, the teachers cited a wide range of evidence to demonstrate how they met
the diverse needs and circumstances of the pupils dealt with by the service. During the
assessor‟s visit, teachers provided appropriate additional evidence as requested. Some
teachers were very imaginative in adducing evidence of how they enhanced pupils' progress.
In one setting the ITC support teacher described how he had set up an internet notice board
and chat room where pupils could explain their ITC problems and receive help from the
teacher and from other students.
Team leaders discharge of their role
52. The team leader role in LEA support services is generally fulfilled at different levels
depending on the size of the service. Some services, eg sensory impairment, which contain a
number of separate specialisms, each with a number of teachers, usually have team leaders
dedicated to each specialism while the service as a whole will often be led by a senior officer
of the LEA, known as the head of service. In these circumstances early evidence suggests
that the role of team leader has generally been discharged effectively with applications being
fully supported and appropriately assessed.
Heads of services’ discharge of their role
53. The indications here are that many heads of service provided generally good support for
threshold assessment. In particular they provided very good guidance to help the team
leaders and applicants in the samples to meet the assessors‟ requests for further evidence. In
the best practice, services already had systems for monitoring the performance of staff,
systems which will provide the foundation for future performance management arrangements.
In a few cases, often where the service was small and there were no team leaders, there was
insufficient delineation between heads of services roles in giving support and in assessing
applications, though this did not appear to prejudice any of the judgements made. It was
also unclear whether and how heads of service moderated their assessments against those of
other comparable services in the LEA and, in one case where there appeared to be no
overall head of service, the moderation process had not been carried out.