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The curriculum


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A presentation by Sean Harford, Ofsted's Director of Education, given at the NASUWT BME conference on 27 January 2018.

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The curriculum

  1. 1. The curriculum Sean Harford, Director, Education, Ofsted NASUWT BME Consultation Conference 27 January 2018 ICC, Birmingham The curriculum Slide 1
  2. 2. Session overview The curriculum Slide 2 What is the curriculum? Purposes and principles of this work The framework for the survey Overview of the research Emerging findings
  3. 3. Working definition of the curriculum ‘The curriculum is a framework for setting out the aims of a programme of education, including the knowledge and understanding to be gained at each stage (intent); for translating that framework over time into a structure and narrative, within an institutional context (implementation) and for evaluating what knowledge and understanding pupils have gained against expectations (impact/achievement).’ The curriculum Slide 3
  4. 4. Curriculum survey work The curriculum Slide 4  Purposes and principles of the work:  Influence wider thinking – role and importance of the curriculum  Inform and reflect on inspection policy  Inform policy making in DfE – influence of national policy levers  Framework for the survey:  Intent, implementation and impact at national, school and classroom levels.
  5. 5. Nine-box framework The curriculum Slide 5 To what extent has the government made the objectives of the curriculum clear? How effectively are the objectives of the curriculum translated into policy levers? To what extent has the school made the objectives of the curriculum clear? To what extent do the objectives of the school align with national policy objectives? How effectively are the objectives of the school translated into processes and policies? What do teachers think is their objective in teaching this subject? To what extent does the objective of the teacher align with the school’s objectives? How likely is it that the teaching methods used will deliver the teacher’s objectives for that subject? What is the potential impact of the policy objectives on pupils nationally? National School Classroom What is the potential impact of the school’s objectives on its pupils? IntentImplementationImpact What is the potential impact of this course of study on the pupils?
  6. 6. Survey activity to date… The curriculum Slide 6  Reception:  Schools visited and ‘Bold beginnings’ report published  Schools (primary and secondary):  Visits and first analysis complete, now planning next set of visits to complement initial findings  Also analysed qualifications data, Year 9 options forms and spoke to parents and headteachers  HMCI commentary on findings was published in October  No judgements by inspectors!  Level 2 in colleges:  Visits and paper set for publication this coming term  Also collected views from learners.
  7. 7. The emerging challenge  Having analysed our first phase visits to schools, we have been presented with a challenge:  the language being used is ambiguous, by both teachers and inspectors.  We want to develop a very detailed understanding of the techniques being applied in schools to develop and deliver the curriculum…  …but, from our early evidence, there does not appear to be a shared understanding, across the sector, of how to describe the techniques and subsequent development of curriculums.  One simple example… The curriculum Slide 7
  8. 8. ‘Broad and balanced’ This term is used frequently by schools and in evidence forms by inspectors, but we have no clear indication of when a narrow, imbalanced curriculum becomes a broad, balanced curriculum, or vice versa… …or whether this is age-dependent. Also, the comments tend to refer to curriculum offering, and may not relate to the actual content of what pupils are studying, merely the subjects on the timetable. The curriculum Slide 8
  9. 9. HMCI’s commentary – October 2017  ‘Education as substance’ – but importance of testing and qualifications  Support for the new SATs, GCSEs and A levels – rigour  Symbiosis of these and a good curriculum  Challenge to the inspectorate – recognition of part played  Understanding of language  Lack of curriculum training leading to expertise  KS2 narrowing; the point of KS3; KS4 low-attainers curriculum The curriculum Slide 9
  10. 10. ‘Bold beginnings’ in Reception  The importance of:  play and the balance with ‘formal’ teaching  early reading  early writing  early maths  social development.  Tweets… let’s just say it has divided opinion…  The curriculum Slide 10
  11. 11. The new framework – education inspection framework 2019  Build on the curriculum work  Build on other research work – see the new Ofsted Strategy  Time to develop and engage with the sectors  Time for sectors to adjust, so…  …begin in September 2019. The curriculum Slide 11
  12. 12. In the meantime, providers need to… …know their curriculum – design and intent …know how their curriculum is being implemented …know what impact their curriculum is having on children and young people’s knowledge and understanding. The curriculum Slide 12
  13. 13. Ofsted on the web and on social media The curriculum Slide 13