Ofsted Frameworks, quality of education, and IT curriculum in schools

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Credit: Lucy Vigrass

In May 2019 Ofsted released new categories within its inspection framework. Out of all these the one that aligns itself to curriculum the most is Quality of Education.

We’ve picked out some bits and pieces that are useful to know for planning curriculum in time for September. It’s particularly worth taking into consideration how you can position a suitable IT qualification into your curriculum. With few genuine IT qualifications on performance tables it’s a good idea to pick something that aligns with the expectations under the new framework.

If you’re feeling up to it, you can trawl through the full guidance on the Gov.uk website. Or, read on for the important points and links to some useful summaries.

Quality of Education explained

What does Ofsted mean by “Quality of Education”? In a nutshell, schools will need to offer a well planned, knowledge-led curriculum. Ofsted will be looking for a curriculum that promotes a mastery of skills while also allowing pupils opportunities. Under the new frameworks, curriculum must:

  • be broad and balanced
  • provide a wide range of subjects
  • have an emphasis on how coherent and well sequenced it is.

The Quality of Education category also covers three sub-categories, namely the three ‘I’s: Intent, Implementation and Impact. 


According to the new frameworks “Inspectors will consider the extent to which the school’s curriculum sets out the knowledge and skills that pupils will gain at each stage”. SecED explains:

“why do you teach what you do? It is the bread and butter of schools, not a bolt-on. Every teacher, department leader and senior leader should have a sense of curriculum intent.”


The Hamilton Trust states that teachers need to present all aspects of a broad and balanced curriculum. Schools need to prove that they’re visibly encouraging discussion and the whole-hearted engagement of pupils, without an over-concentration on outcomes and with a far greater emphasis on processes.


Third Space Learning explains that there should be focus on doing things that ‘allow [learners] to go on to destinations that meet their interests, aspirations and the intention of their course of study’.  Alongside evidence taken from schools’ internal assessment data, inspectors will also look for first-hand evidence of how pupils are doing.

What else?

Under the new frameworks, Ofsted will take into account the extent to which teachers have good knowledge of the subjects they teach. They’ll also consider whether there is any evidence that the school’s curriculum has been narrowed inappropriately 

Getting your IT curriculum right for September

You might feel confident that your school is well prepared and ready to meet these changes head-on. On the other hand, you may be unsure of whether the IT qualification you currently teach at KS4 fits in with this new framework. What if you have students planning to progress to an A-level in Computer Science or a BTEC National in Computing but only currently offer a creative media qualification to your budding software engineers and network technicians? 

The Level 1 and Level 2 BTEC Tech Award in Digital Information Technology (DIT) and the various teaching materials available can support your school in aiming to meet these new requirements.

We can help you demonstrate knowledge of the subjects you teach. We support the development of teachers and regularly host podcasts, webinars, and face-to-face Getting Ready to Teach events. Bespoke training is also available for our larger/consortium schools. Our training support is designed to support you in demonstrating the Quality of Education throughout your delivery of this BTEC. 

The BTEC Tech Award in Digital Information Technology is the ideal Level 1 and Level 2 IT qualification to ensure that your students are equipped with the skills they need to move on to further study.  To help you avoid unwittingly narrowing your curriculum, you’ll find that DIT has up to 50% more breadth in terms of suitable content than non IT-specific qualifications. This should give you the confidence that your students are getting what they need out of their IT studies while the school works toward achieving the criteria under those three ‘I’s.

Numerous support materials are available to help you gather Impact evidence such as our 1 and 2 year course planner and detailed schemes of work

What next?

Third Space Learning recommends you take time to read the framework and handbooks. You can also start getting in touch with key stakeholders to explain what the main changes might be and where you may already be meeting some or all of the standards. 

This blog was written by Atif Khan, Sector Manager for Digital and IT BTECs at Pearson and Daniel Brixey, Senior Marketing Executive, BTEC for Schools.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in these blogs belong solely to their authors, and are not necessarily those of Pearson.

Illustration by Lucy Vigrass