Leaders Professional Skill Level Descriptors

It is vital that governors have clarified the levels of professional skill that they expect to see for each pay band or pay point in their structure – and recorded this after consultation in their pay and/or appraisal policies.

Our model Professional Skills Level Descriptors for Leaders can be found here.  They have also been well received nationally and adopted by several complete local authorities as well as by hundreds of individual schools.  They group leadership pay points into three bands – Leader, Accomplished Leader and Expert Leader – and define the minimum levels of skill the governors expect from Accomplished Leaders in 6 key areas – Leading Colleagues  & Building Teams, Leading Teaching and Learning, Leading Professional Development, Acting on Evidence, Handling Accountability and Managing Resources.  Where governors decide to keep a traditional pay structure with the headteacher on a 7 point range and deputies/assistant heads on 5, they will need to decide at which points in those ranges they expect Accomplished and Expert Leader criteria to be met. 

The descriptors set out on the sheet have been developed with schools to be applicable to both middle and senior leaders at any level.  It is our experience that some schools will also wish to provide further role specific detail in each of the six areas – eg for TLR1 holders, Assistant Heads or Deputies.  Some schools also find it helpful to enable individual leaders to reflect on the priorities for them personally in each of these areas in the year ahead. 

Although these expectations will only formally be used to govern pay progression decisions for senior leaders, it is nevertheless reasonable to expect that TLR holders with many years experience should be working at “expert leader” level.

Leaders Professional Skill Level Descriptors

Teachers Professional Skill Level Descriptors

It is vital is that organisations have clarified the levels of professional skill that they expect to see for each pay band or pay point in their structure – and recorded this after consultation in their pay and/or appraisal policies.  Our model Professional Skills Level Descriptors for teachers can be found here.  They have been well received nationally and adopted by several complete local authorities as well as by hundreds of individual schools.  They group the 9 teacher pay Points (M1-6 and UPS1-3) into three pay bands – Teacher (M1-3) Accomplished Teacher (M4-6) and Expert Teacher (UPS1 – 3) – and define the minimum levels of skill expected for each band in 6 key areas – Professional Practice, Professional Outcomes, Professional Relationships, Professional Development and Professional Conduct.

Teachers Professional Skill Level Descriptors

Skills Audit Templates

Using skills audits as the framework for professional development.

We have collected a few of the skills audit templates that are used by our Standards Tracker users. We have over 75 individual templates in our online system covering all members of staff and which are freely available to use by our subscriber schools.

Skill audits are an essential part of teacher performance related pay in England where pay has been linked to performance, or rather, skill for some years. The use of performance-related pay is controversial and its benefits unproven in teaching. However, it is important for an organisation to understand its staffs’ strengths and weaknesses even if pay is not linked to those ratings as it allows it to spend resources on professional development in a more efficient way. It also provides an individual with valuable information about their current performance and where they might focus their attention on self-improvement – including seeking out peer support and coaching in either an informal or formal way through objective setting.

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is a formative process but it should, in the majority of cases, be based on an objective understanding of what are the specific areas of development for the individual concerned rather than a one size fits all.

Using these templates you can ask staff members to complete a self-assessment against the skills framework. This assessment forms the basis for a conversation and discussion and in most cases the self-assessment will be an accurate assessment. You may consider using a rubric to help individuals assess where they sit on a range of performance. In Standards Tracker our schools can choose to upload this rubric and they can also choose the range of performance indicators.

Please feel free to download the selection of templates – you can see a list of them in the sidebar to the left of this article.

If you would like to see how all this could be automated for you then book a walk-through with one of our team and they will show you how easy it can be.

Teaching Assistant Skills Audit (2016 Standards)


This template can be used to record judgements against the Teaching Assistant Standards published in 2016 (but not made statutory).

The template uses Ofsted grade descriptors but you can simply change these by altering the column headings.

Of course, life would be made much simpler if you used our online template within Standards Tracker!



This audit template links the evidence of teaching quality looked at by Ofsted to the National Standards. This is based on an old Inspection framework but the principles remain valid today despite the regular changes to the Inspection handbook made since.