Heather Fearn and Jonathan Keay are Her Majesty’s Inspectors from Ofsted’s curriculum group. They clarify the pondering behind how a ‘deep dive’ helps inspectors discover out extra concerning the high quality of a faculty’s curriculum.
Why concentrate on curriculum?
Inspectors perform ‘deep dives’ on inspection. Which means they’ll collect proof on the intent, implementation and influence of the curriculum. We’ll say extra on this in a minute. A topic deep dive will discover whether or not pupils have been taught and have realized the curriculum content material they should obtain the targets that colleges have for his or her training.
This inspection concentrate on curriculum relies on the perception from analysis into human cognition: if pupils don’t achieve studying what we hoped then they’ve data gaps that can be stopping that success. When pupils are profitable, the data they want has constructed over time, permitting them to grasp extra complicated concepts and undertake extra complicated duties. A Jenga tower analogy is helpful right here. When pupils perceive extra complicated concepts, the Jenga tower is sturdy. When bits of information are lacking, the tower can grow to be wobbly.
When pupils will not be profitable, that is typically as a result of the data they want was not recognized and taught to them. It is likely to be apparent if there are gaps within the educating of arithmetic however typically pupils might be requested complicated questions in English or basis topics with out the depth of information that may enable them to offer a significant reply.
Typically, the data that pupils want has been taught however maybe not given the required emphasis or not repeated typically sufficient to make sure that they be taught it for future use. Pupils can grow to be confused if essential data is just not taught in a coherent sequence or damaged down into sufficiently small bite-sized chunks. Maybe the educating actions chosen to ship the curriculum will not be efficient.
Pupils might have all types of obstacles to studying the curriculum content material they want for achievement. These obstacles will should be overcome if pupils are to realize the academic targets we share for them.
Curriculum: a easy focus
There’ll all the time be consultants providing their very own recommendation on the way to put together for an Ofsted inspection. Sadly, this recommendation can typically be overcomplicated and may divert your power from the straightforward issues that matter:
Does your curriculum determine the data pupils want to realize the targets of their training, and have all pupils realized that data?
Topic leaders do not want to organize particular documentation for Ofsted on intent, implementation and influence. For Ofsted, intent is just what you need pupils to be taught: your curriculum pondering and high-level planning. Implementation is the educating actions you select to show your curriculum. Affect is when that curriculum content material is realized. There aren’t any further types of documentation wanted for inspection as a result of all colleges already plan curriculum content material and educating actions designed to make sure that curriculum content material is realized.
We all know that colleges are coping with all of the pressures created by the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s all the extra essential that colleges concentrate on what’s most essential for pupils’ life probabilities. Ofsted inspection deep dives concentrate on what’s most vital for a top quality training: that’s, fairly merely, whether or not pupils are gaining the data they should obtain the targets of their training.
It’s essential to say that we’ve had the privilege of seeing extremely efficient curriculum pondering in motion throughout our areas during the last time period.
Ought to colleges perform their very own deep dives?
As we’ve explored, deep dives assist us think about the effectiveness of the standard of training in a selected timeframe once we examine. They aren’t actually designed for anything. If colleges wish to drill right down to the standard of curriculum themselves, there are most likely higher methods of doing this than doing inside deep dives. That’s since you see your curriculum being taught every single day. This provides you scope to contemplate curriculum effectiveness in additional element and as an ongoing dialog.