The Northern Ireland scheme for Performance Review and Staff Development (PRSD) was introduced into all schools in September 2005.
PRSD provides both a framework and a set of procedures for performance review and staff development in schools, setting out the reasons for its introduction, its expected outcomes, the key components of the process and the main roles and responsibilities of all those to whom it applies.
PRSD for Catholic Maintained schools is seen as being directly linked to school development planning, underpinned by continuing professional development for teachers and principals and to enabling both the achievements of young people and their overall experience of education to be as rewarding and successful as possible.
It has the potential to enable schools to bring greater coherence, purpose and rigour to school development planning, continuous professional development and overall school improvement and, by doing so, help them to be better equipped to respond successfully and with confidence to the challenges they face.
Teachers are a school’s greatest resource and what a school achieves is the result of the quality of the work its teachers do. It therefore makes a great deal of sense for schools to do all they can to enable their teachers to be – and go on being – as highly skilled in and as well informed about learning and teaching as possible.
That is precisely where PRSD fits in and why it matters so much. The professional knowledge, understanding and skills that teachers bring with them when they begin their careers are unlikely to be sufficient to enable them to meet all the challenges arising from rapid, constant and complex educational change throughout their careers.
Continuous professional development is therefore not only more important than it ever was but, essential for everyone responsible for enabling pupils to learn more effectively and be better prepared to lead rewarding and fulfilling adult lives.
If performance review is sensitively and professionally introduced, led and managed it is likely to be seen as (and become) a developmental process which promotes and sustains the personal and professional growth of teachers and, by doing so, makes a positive difference to schools and what they and their pupils do and achieve. Its impact is likely to be substantial and positive. This is why CCMS has dedicated resources to the PRSD Scheme – it demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that PRSD is effectively introduced and managed in our schools for the benefit of all staff and pupils.
Performance review offers schools an opportunity to build and sustain high performance cultures, to develop as learning communities and, as a result, to be much better equipped to respond – and go on responding – with skill and confidence to the challenges that face them.
Making the Scheme effective requires each school to make a journey, starting from where it is and taking whatever time it needs to reach the desired destination.
Essentially, the Scheme gives governors, school leaders and teachers a framework within which to work. It sets out some of the principles that should inform the approach to be taken. The responsibility for implementing and embedding the Scheme belongs to the school governors.
The PRSD scheme has 3 stages in its annual cycle:
The aims of the PRSD Scheme are to:
These are then underpinned by the following principles:
Brendan Hardy, PRSD Co-ordinator,who is based at Headquarters in Holywood, is responsible for PRSD for all Diocesan Education Offices and Catholic Maintained schools in Northern Ireland.
The successful implementation of PRSD will depend on a large number of people – Employing Authorities, Boards of Governors (and the individual governors who take responsibility for reviewing the performance of school principals), principals and other members of staff all have crucial contributions to make.
External Advisors also have a significant part to play in assisting Governor Reviewers in reviewing the performance of principals.
The role of the PRSD Coordinator is to act as a central contact point for PRSD queries and to offer support and guidance to principals, Boards of Governors and External Advisors as well as liaising with RTU, Education Library Boards and the Unions. The PRSD Coordinator allocates schools to a each External Advisor and provides them with appropriate information. In addition the PRSD Coordinator in CCMS is responsible for the design and development of Quality Assurance, Communication, Management Information Systems and the co-ordination of strategic, operational and administrative aspects of PRSD for CCMS.
Since September 2005, the main focus of the PRSD Coordinator has been the successful implementation of PRSD in Catholic Maintained Schools and managing the strategic and operational aspects of the Scheme for all those involved including External Advisors, principals, teachers, and Boards of Governors. The feedback from External Advisors, principals and Governor Reviewers has been very positive. Each of the stakeholders has a specific role to play in the PRSD process and they have all worked very well together to implement the Scheme in our schools. The implementation of such an important scheme is an ongoing process and the expertise of the External Advisors coupled with the commitment and input from Governor Reviewers and principals will ensure the Scheme is a success and will pay dividends for everyone involved with our schools.
External Advisors have used their extensive experience to give advice to principals and Governor Reviewers regarding the setting and reviewing of objectives which are directly linked to each individual School Development Plan. The External Advisors have commented very favourably about Catholic Maintained Schools and many have been impressed by the professionalism, courtesy and management skills evident when they visit to discuss PRSD. They have reported that the level of commitment and dedication shown by principals and teachers towards improving their schools and most importantly the experiences of the children in their schools has been outstanding.
Further information on the PRSD Scheme and relevant publications and materials are available by clicking here. Alternatively, contact the CCMS PRSD Team:
160 High Street
Telephone: 028 90426972