Few would doubt that the curriculum is a necessary a part of college life. With out this wealth of human information, a constructing stuffed with lecturers, leaders and pupils just isn’t a faculty.
If pupils do not get the advantage of a wealthy and deep curriculum then they’ll have learnt too little and made little progress.
But there was a scarcity of reflection on the design, content material and implementation of curriculums lately. That’s the reason Ofsted’s present analysis programme, commissioned by HM Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman, is so necessary.
We have put loads of work into this analysis up to now, and as we speak’s commentary from Amanda reveals a number of the preliminary findings.
Inspectors visited 40 faculties to collect proof for the primary part of our overview and held focus teams for headteachers of excellent faculties throughout 5 areas. We additionally reviewed scores of inspection experiences and faculty web sites and distributed questionnaires to our Dad and mom Panel.
So, what did we discover? Firstly, that there’s a lack of coherent debate and dialogue in regards to the curriculum.
There isn’t a shared understanding throughout the sector of what the important thing phrases truly imply. And too usually, the varsity curriculum is seen as the identical as the varsity timetable.
Secondly, a lot of the language used to speak in regards to the curriculum is ambiguous. The time period ‘expertise’ is liberally utilized in lots of contexts, however it is vitally not often clear whether or not it means particular topic expertise, corresponding to studying, or private expertise, corresponding to with the ability to work in a crew.
Amanda and I’ve repeatedly pressured the significance of faculties having wealthy, deep curriculums. However our inspectors discovered that folks believed that making ready for exams was slicing into their kid’s studying time.
Why is that this occurring? Undoubtedly, some faculties are educating an excessive amount of to the important thing stage 2 exams and never sufficient for studying in English and arithmetic, and some college leaders stated managing change can be a difficulty. To deal with workload, they’ve pushed curriculum growth additional down their record of priorities.
Nonetheless, this can be a concern at each main and secondary degree. Leaders at 11 of the 14 main faculties we visited stated that they carried out some type of preparation for key stage 2 SATs, which meant curbing or suspending the educating of different basis topics. SATs are necessary in reflecting how effectively faculties are delivering the first curriculum, and naturally some degree of preparation is smart, however our analysis raises issues in regards to the depth in some circumstances.
In the meantime, 10 of the 23 secondary faculties visited have been lowering key stage 3 to simply 2 years. This works effectively for some topics, the place ideas are revisited at deeper ranges, nevertheless it doesn’t work for all topics, particularly those who pupils drop earlier than GCSE. We, as inspectors, college leaders, lecturers and oldsters, must ask ourselves – are we completely satisfied to lose that 12 months in the course of secondary schooling?
All pupils profit from a broad and wealthy curriculum. We have discovered that the curriculum for decrease attaining pupils usually reduces their skill to review EBacc topics.
General, what we have discovered on this first part of labor is that there’s a severe threat of the curriculum being denuded. Not by the exams or exams themselves, that are the easiest way we all know of assessing information and understanding, however by the method some faculties take to making ready pupils for them.
However on a extra constructive word, we have now met many college leaders and lecturers who’re passionate about revitalising the talk about what it means to develop and implement an amazing curriculum.
We’ll have extra to say about this late spring 2018, after we will publish extra in regards to the curriculum survey. Within the meantime, I’d welcome your ideas.
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