Q. With the renewed interest in the curriculum, do we know what type of curriculum Ofsted will be looking for when they inspect?

Published: Thursday, 03 January 2019

A. The short answer is no. Ofsted has already made it clear that it does not want to become involved in setting out exactly what the curriculum should consist of or how it is taught. However, there are those who suggest that it is almost impossible to inspect this area of school life without bringing some value judgements about it to the table.

We also have some indicators of an Ofsted opinion in the reports it has published recently. We perhaps shouldn’t become too involved in second guessing at this stage, but there does seem to be a drift towards a more formal curriculum, albeit broad and comprehensive.

It is worth checking at this stage that you are at least fulfilling your legal requirements and that statutory duties, such as the teaching of British values and equality, are clearly established in your school. In a previous speech, Amanda Spielman has indicated that there would be no let up in the expectation that these are covered and not just in token assemblies.

Unless you have recently done this, it’s a good time to evaluate your curriculum and establish whether it covers all the aspects that it should. A recent report by Ofsted on obesity pointed out that although cooking is included in the national curriculum, many schools do not formally cover it in their timetable. Show that you know your curriculum; what’s being covered, where
and how.

It’s also time to ensure that all subjects have a champion who can justify and develop content, look out for resources and provide training and guidance to others. Some subjects may have become slightly neglected over the years and you should perhaps take a fresh look to see if there needs to be some redistribution of resources and status.

September 2019 will come very quickly. In the meantime, making sure that what you offer now is as healthy and robust as it can be would seem the best preparation you can make.


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