Ofsted grants schools extended curriculum grace period


Ofsted has said schools will get an additional 12 months to ensure their curriculum aligns with the new inspection framework.

The inspectorate’s new framework was first introduced in September 2019 and Ofsted said a year-long transition period would exist, whereby schools would be judged on whether they are implementing changes, rather than if they are delivered.

Provided schools can show a plan for change and demonstrate actions towards it, they have not been penalised – an approach that will now continue until July 2021.

Not only will this alleviate some pressure on schools, but it should also ensure that more time is put into the development of the curriculums, enhancing their quality in the process.

The extension to the grace period was revealed by Ofsted’s new national director of education Sean Harford, who highlighted the level of “thought, preparation and work” that is needed to develop the curriculums.

“We know that a great curriculum does not just appear perfectly formed overnight,” he wrote in a blog post.

Addressing concerns voiced by the Association of School and College Leaders and the National Association of Head Teachers that curriculums would not be ready by September 2020, he said the extension should give them the time they need.

Despite criticism for the new framework, Ofsted has stood firm in recent months and has continued to downgrade schools that it claims are narrowing the curriculum with a three-year key stage 4.

Mr Harford added that schools which are working hard to boost their curriculums will be recognised, while the focus is on ensuring that the best standard of education is delivered.

He added that Ofsted was not looking to punish schools for having narrower curriculums than what is expected, provided that they were planning to change.

“We’ve seen schools that, by September 2019, had clearly identified their key stage 3 curriculum was narrower in ambition than the national curriculum – but had a clear plan to show how they would broaden it,” he explained.