Ofsted vows curriculum will be centre of new inspection framework


The curriculum will be a pivotal part of Ofsted’s new inspection framework, according to chief inspector of schools Amanda Spielman.

Having voiced concerns that there is currently an over-reliance on exam results, Ms Spielman said the inspectorate is keen to focus on other aspects of learning too.

In a commentary on Ofsted’s website, she said that the focus has been on delivering test results “above all else” and that the approach needs to change.

“The vast, accumulated wealth of human knowledge, and what we choose to pass onto the next generation through our teaching in our schools (the curriculum), must be at the heart of education,” she explained.

According to Ms Spielman, inspection can help to “provide a more rounded picture of the curriculum”.

The announcement followed the publishing of a study into the curriculum by the inspectorate which focused on three types of curriculums that are used in schools:

• Knowledge-led (used in roughly a third of schools)

• Knowledge-engaged (used in around half of schools)

• Skills-led (used by a small group of schools)

The study revealed that school leaders understood the importance of continual curriculum reviews, although weaknesses existing in all three relating to desired learning outcomes.

“Ultimately, the curriculum is the yardstick for what school leaders want their pupils to know and be able to do by the time they leave school,” Ms Spielman said.

This led her to call for the curriculum to be the central focus of the new framework in order to ensure that it looks at more than just leadership.

“It includes how well the curriculum is implemented through well-taught and appropriately sequenced content, thoughtfully designed assessment practice and consideration of an appropriate model of progression,” she added.

“A well-constructed, well-taught curriculum will lead to good results because those results will be a reflection of what pupils have learned.”