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OfSTED Inspecting the Curriculum

6/6/2019

Inspecting the Curriculum

OfSTED has just released a new document which sets out the inspection methodology for the ‘quality of education’ judgement. This is a very helpful and timely publication as a we are not far away from the time of year when people jet off for their summer holidays and this year will be faced with an entirely new OfSTED inspection framework when they return.

Interestingly, we are having conversations with education and training providers who have yet to grasp the full extent of what is going on with the Quality of Education judgement. It is vital that this area is looked at, sooner rather than later, as for many organisations it is going to involve a large amount of work. As we write this in June 2019, education and training providers have less than three months to develop curriculum plans before the new inspection framework takes effect.

For schools, it simply won’t do to have a curriculum plan that sets out that Henry VIII will be taught in the autumn term, History of Medicine in the spring term and the summer will be spent tackling the Treaty of Versailles. For apprenticeship providers it won’t be enough to set out that month 3 there will be a block course and the same in month 5 and 8. All education and training providers are going to have to show detail. This detail has to set out your:

  • Curriculum Intent
  • Curriculum Implementation
  • Curriculum Impact
  • Curriculum Schedule

OfSTED Curriclum Definition

At the heart of the EIF is the new ‘quality of education’ judgement, the purpose of which is to put a single conversation about education at the centre of inspection. This conversation draws together curriculum, teaching, assessment and standards. In doing this, we draw heavily on the working definition of the curriculum that Ofsted has used over the last couple of years. This definition uses the concepts of ‘intent’, ‘implementation’ and ‘impact’ to recognise that the curriculum passes through different states: it is conceived, taught and experienced. Leaders and teachers design, structure and sequence a curriculum, which is then implemented through classroom teaching. The end result of a good, well-taught curriculum is that pupils know more and are able to do more. The positive results of pupils’ learning can then be seen in the standards they achieve.2 The EIF starts from the understanding that all of these steps are connected.

Judging Quality of Education

Inspectors are going to implement a 3 level review process when judging the Quality of Education:

Top Level Review

In the top level review, inspectors are going to take an overall view of the curriculum. They will look at what is being offered in the curriculum, who it is directed at and when the elements of the curriculum are being delivered.

In this part of the inspection process, inspectors will expect to understand the curriculum intent and the curriculum schedule.

Deep Dive Review

The second step in the process will involve inspectors taking a deep dive into the curriculum. They will expect to see evidence of curriculum intent, how the curriculum has been implemented and will sample teaching and learning material. They will also discuss the curriculum with leaders, staff and learners.
“The intent of the deep dive is to seek to interrogate and establish a coherent evidence base on quality of education”.

Bringing Together

Once the deep dive has been completed, the inspectors will then bring all of their evidence together.

Inspectors will “test whether any issues identified during the deep dives are systemic. This will usually lead to school leaders bringing forward further evidence and inspectors gathering additional evidence”.

The deep dive includes the following elements:

– evaluation of senior leaders’ intent for the curriculum in this subject or area, and their understanding of its implementation and impact
– evaluation of curriculum leaders’ long- and medium-term thinking and planning, including the rationale for content choices and curriculum sequencing
-visits to a deliberately and explicitly connected sample of lessons
– work scrutiny of books or other kinds of work produced by pupils who are part of classes that have also been (or will also be) observed by inspectors
– discussion with teachers to understand how the curriculum informs their choices about content and sequencing to support effective learning
– discussions with a group of pupils from the lessons observed.

Stedfast Curriculum Planning

Since the publication of the draft Education Inspection Framework in Jan 2019 we have been working really hard to complete the curriculum planning module in Stedfast. Education and training providers can now use Stedfast to plan and manage all of their curriculum activities.

We have just completed the curriculum scheduling tools which have now been released. We aren’t stopping, we have more exciting features in the pipeline and will have these released before the implementation of the new inspection framework in September 2019.

If you would like an online demo of Stedfast then please contact us and we will schedule a suitable time.

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