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The Quality of Teaching: Ofsted Framework

Thoughts on the Ofsted Framework Relating to Curriculum.

The Ofsted Inspection Framework was updated in September 2023. These are my thoughts on how the Ofsted framework may affect your school and some ideas that may help to formulate your response. One of the biggest changes is to Conduct during an inspection.

Ofsted outlines clear expectations for professional conduct during inspections by both inspectors and providers. Inspectors are expected to uphold the highest standards, treating all with fairness, respect and sensitivity. Providers should approach inspections with integrity, honesty and transparency. This involves openness in sharing all relevant evidence to allow inspectors to report reliably. Providers must not withhold, conceal or falsify evidence, and should provide full, accurate information to facilitate reliable inspection judgements and reporting. Both inspectors and providers are therefore expected to behave ethically during inspections, through demonstration of professionalism, integrity and transparency.

213. The Curriculum

The OfSTED framework 2023 is still interested in the impact of the curriculum on the quality of education. This would enable schools to capture the whole range of their provision. Giving a status to the wider curriculum that it previously lacked. The experiential learning and social opportunities provided to each pupil. Many special schools have a range of learning environments and programs that enable the pupils to develop these skills. Often these are highly specialised and represent a significant investment in setup costs and staff training. Does your school have a document that aims to capture these enriching opportunities? i.e. the sensory rooms AAC spaces, Headstart spaces, a sensory garden, Forest school, community visits.

Ofsted Framework 2023 summary

More important than individual subject curriculums and lessons are how these feed into the bigger picture. as it relates to learning over time. This is key, how do one-off enrichment days, etc allow students to show progression? What is the impact of a curriculum focus day?

Challenge for all remains a priority, all students need equal access to a range of subjects and experiences.

The quality of the curriculum will be the main priority. This is the responsibility of all staff from the Headteacher it is no use just having individuals who can articulate the curriculum offer. It is best that all teaching staff have input and ownership of the curriculum. Be proud of what you do. But know why you are doing it.

The 2023 Ofsted framework will expect teachers to have:

  • Worked out what their pupils need to learn.
  • What skills do students need to help them learn?
  • Planned the order of progression in which they will deliver skills and knowledge, both at:
    • Micro level (individual lesson)
    • Macro level (Across years/key stages)

The key vocabulary Intent, Implementation, Impact

– These elements should be clear within curriculum development processes.

  • Intent: What do you intend the children to learn.
  • Implementation: The way you will teach knowledge, skills and understanding and how this builds over time.
  • Impact: Observers will need to consider learning in lessons and put this into the context of learning over time.

The Role of the Subject Leader

The role of the subject leader is to develop and identify the school’s curriculum intent. This will include values, subject knowledge and supporting teachers to develop this. Mini-research projects and reflective practice would really ensure we capture this area and the subject leader is effective. Case Studies and the creation of school values or approach document that captures the specific specialist knowledge relating to the pupil’s needs might be an effective initiative. I.e Autism specific teaching strategies, research-based Visual Impairment teaching.

Make Education Effective for YOUR pupils

What makes the education delivered at your school effective for your learners? You may base this on specific research linked to your need types. In-house research projects (NPQML, NPQSL?) or evidence of past progression. There is an element of pulling together the consensus of leadership – Each leader needs a clear vision of the purpose and Intent of education at your school. Are these extra elements of teachers’/leaders’ interests pulled together and shared?

Leaders will need a cohesive view of what each pupil needs for later life (An education for life beyond school). That includes knowledge of what is going on in their lives now and what this will lead to (accreditations, work experience, aspirations) Leaders must know their cohorts and how these evolve over time.

Leaders need to know of what the pupils will need to “Know and Do” at specific endpoints (key stage, year, 6th form).

The key for the curriculum is for it to be planned and sequenced. Revisiting topics and knowledge in a planned way seem to be encouraged.

Local context can help identify where gaps exist in knowledge and the pupil’s cultural capital. This is not an excuse for narrowing the curriculum but should be seen as an opportunity to develop all aspects of the child’s wider knowledge.

1Cultural Capital.

Each school exists within a community, cultural capital relates to shared experiences and knowledge gained through exposure to a range of experiences. This may be interactions beyond their family unit. Visits, trips, and travel beyond the immediate area. Exposure to media etc. This can determine which groups of peers they can feel comfortable within. i.e those with access to X-Boxes, Netflix, etc can talk with a common vocabulary. It would exclude others. What groups do they share knowledge with? How can the pupils share knowledge and interests? – Residential trips are an excellent way to do this. How do they fit into the curriculum i.e teaching about the areas visited, pre-teaching of activities, vocabulary, and expectations?

There is a specific reference to “human creativity and achievement”, this is likely another hint to avoid the narrowing of the curriculum. Links with Forest school and other experiential learning will be essential in showing this (are these sessions planned and given a clear purpose? We should not assume deep experience in all areas of life.

What gaps in this knowledge do your pupils have that mean they are not as advantaged as others?

Expert Teaching

Ofsted expects teachers to have expert subject knowledge, and what support are they given i.e CPD, Peer mentoring etc?

Embedding and applying. What are the strategies effective for ensuring students retain knowledge? ASD, Learning Difficulty specific strategies -See documents below for potential recent research into this area. This may be teachers thinking of strategies (notes, charts visuals, meta-cognition)  giving the knowledge context (planning), Sequencing (mindful of the “why” we are teaching in the way we do, and Task delivery through the lesson.

The importance of differentiating between memorising disconnected facts and showing a fluid recall of knowledge and understanding within different contexts. This can be demonstrated through the interleaving of knowledge through the topics delivered in KS2 for example.

Linking back to the Intent observation of a series of lessons and how we meet those learning objectives for individual lessons and over time, referring or mindful of the required endpoint.

These are only my thoughts on the 2023 Ofsted framework but I hope you find them useful.

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