Following consultation (not negotiation), there is a new inspection framework for schools from September 2019.
Whilst new requirements might unnerve some schools, there has in fact been a long lead up to the changes, most notably of which is the elevated importance of a quality curriculum.
Ofsted have been gathering evidence from school inspection activity over a number of years, and wider research shows that too often published examination results are the driver of what is taught.
This was first highlighted by Amanda Spielman (Chief HMCI) in 2017 regarding recent primary and secondary curriculum research – when she stated:
‘…. at the very heart of education sits the vast accumulated wealth of human knowledge and what we choose to impart to the next generation: the curriculum. And she continued ‘Without a curriculum, a building full of teachers, leaders and pupils is not a school. Without receiving knowledge, pupils have learned nothing and no progress has been made – whatever the measures might indicate. This is why exams should exist in the service of the curriculum rather than the other way round………….There need be no tension between success on these exams and tests and a good curriculum. Quite the opposite. A good curriculum should lead to good results.’
And many would agree that the balance has been wrong.
So, with September looming, how would your school fair?
If you haven’t familiarised yourself with the three key words – Intent / Implementation / Impact, then our checklist will help set you on your way!
Intent – so, what is your intention?
- Ensure your school has a clear rationale for the curriculum
- Be ambitious
- Ensure teachers and leaders understand the importance of knowledge, progression and sequencing
- Actively promote equality of opportunity so enabling all pupils to learn and make good progress
- promote reading and maths effectively to secure the foundations for learning
Implementation – make it a reality!
- Ensure staff and leaders understand their roles in curriculum design and delivery
- Ensure subject leaders especially have the knowledge, expertise and skills to map high quality, long-term learning
- Review regularly the quality of the curriculum and children’s learning
- Access high quality CPD to enable subject leaders to ensure children’s needs are well met
- Provide dedicated time to enable leaders to develop curriculum expertise across the school
- Regularly review the quality of resources
- Use robust quality assurance activities, including the tracking of different groups, to ensure the curriculum meets the needs of all pupils
- Check interventions are bringing about the required improvement
- Check that the curriculum has suitable depth and coverage across all subjects
- Ensure the school has a model of curriculum progression for every subject
- Ensure the school’s curriculum ensures there is sufficient coverage of each subject over time
- Check whether assessment systems shape and inform future learning
- Ensure assessment is robust, relevant and not onerous
- Develop assessment to support learning across the curriculum
- Periodically check that what is planned is being delivered
- Share your successes across the school
Impact – has it stuck?
- Regularly monitor, evaluate and review the curriculum – include pupils’ views too, to ensure pupils’ progression in knowledge
- Check that all pupils are getting a good deal – there is parity and equality
- Share the impact of the curriculum – what is it enabling?
By being aware of the new requirements, you can prepare more effectively, especially if you are expecting a visit during 2019/20, but remember, the theory does stack well – children should have access to a high quality curriculum to engage, motivate and inspire them.
A curriculum should be ambitious – children often surprise us of their capabilities.
In schools where the curriculum is rich, pupils can often attain well in national testing, but let’s make sure examinations aren’t the driver, and neither is Ofsted; make changes if needed because it’s the right thing to do.
Want More Information?
If you feel that you could do with some advice about the new inspection framework, you are not alone. In fact, at Services For Education, we have just created an entire programme of courses aimed at helping schools go through this process, because we saw the need out there. Check them out here.
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Author Biography: Linda Brown, Senior Adviser at Services For Education
Linda qualified with a Bachelor of Education (Honours), and began her teaching career in the West Midlands. During this time, she gained further qualifications, including NPQH, and worked in six socially and economically diverse schools, including an acting Headship in a large 3 form entry primary, and a substantive Headship for seven years.
Following headship, she set up her own consultancy and undertook extensive school improvement work, ranging from work with newly qualified teachers to support for senior leadership teams and governors.
Linda joined Services For Education as a Senior Adviser where her role is primarily focused upon developing leaders, including those who have recently transitioned to Headship.
School Improvement activity, leading governor training on behalf of BCC and being a School Improvement Adviser also form part of her senior role at Services For Education.
More recently, Linda attained Fellowship of the Institute of Leadership and Management.