• Customisable features deliver effortless reviews for all staff in any role
  • Facilitated 360° feedback tool enables balanced and targeted performance objectives
  • Affordable tool makes developmental performance review available to any organisation


A new tool that empowers a more developmental, balanced and targeted approach to staff performance reviews in schools is being launched today by the team behind the award-winning EdTech solution, BlueSky Education.


Opal Review is a simple and intuitive facilitated 360° feedback tool designed to support a developmental approach to performance reviews for all staff in an organisation. The cloud-based tool provides the opportunity for individuals to gain feedback from a number of sources, offering a more balanced way to identify strengths and areas for development.
Approaches to appraisal and performance management in schools are changing, with a greater focus on linking performance objectives to actionable professional development goals identified through ongoing conversation and coaching, rather than numerical targets such as exam results. Research from the NFER indicates that this approach encourages self-reflective practice and supports staff well-being, allowing individuals to gain a sense of agency and control over their own career goals.


Denise Inwood, CEO of BlueSky says: “During the pandemic, objectives focused on data outcomes such as exam results have been unworkable, accelerating the move for performance objectives based on professional development. Along with enabling individuals to have agency, it is important to ensure impact can be measured and professional learning objectives are both robust and encourage accountability. We have developed Opal Review to support this process, providing a means of gathering well-rounded feedback that can limit bias and provide an excellent starting point for professional learning and people development.“


Supporting a move to developmental and robust performance objectives
Opal Review has been designed to support a developmental approach to performance reviews through the use of facilitated 360° feedback reviews. Individuals gain anonymised feedback from a range of peers, colleagues and superiors, providing a more rounded view of their capabilities. This feedback can be used as a starting point for ongoing professional dialogue.


When completing a review in Opal Review, reviewers can add comments to clarify and support their responses. Allowing reviewers to be anonymous means they can give unbiased, truthful feedback. Reviews are facilitated by an impartial third party such as an HR manager or member of the admin team, who coordinates the reviews on behalf of individuals in the organisation, and can then mediate the responses before these are shared with the reviewee.


Developed to meet the changing practices of the education sector, Opal Review offers customisable features that can be tailored to match any organisation’s performance review culture and criteria. Bespoke frameworks can effortlessly be created in the admin dashboard, allowing performance reviews to be tailored to the specific competencies and behaviour attributes of any role or level of seniority.


Denise Inwood says: “Facilitated feedback has been shown to lead to more impactful outcomes and is an excellent approach for people development, reducing the impact of bias and enabling a balanced, targeted approach that empowers facilitators to hold more forward-focused conversations that are based on trends and analysis from 360° intelligence. The developmental nature of the peer review allows for ongoing feedback, supporting improvement in professional ability over time.”


Opal Review will be offered as a complimentary feature for existing BlueSky Education clients, and will integrate with the platform, allowing 360° review feedback to be linked with all appraisal, professional learning and quality assurance practices within an organisation. Opal Review is also available as a standalone tool that can be used to support performance reviews in any organisation, with fully supported set up taking less than one hour. The affordable annual subscription starts at just £250 for a small organisation such as a primary school or £500 for a large organisation such as a secondary school.