Primary Schools Ofsted Reminder

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No grace period for reading, writing and maths from Ofsted.

A new school term, a new Ofsted Inspection Framework. Schools are continuing to assess exactly what the framework means for them, safe in the knowledge that Ofsted inspectors rating schools as ‘Good’ would give a grace period for curriculum intent plans to be finalised. However, primary schools reading Ofsted’s September inspection update are reminded that no such grace period exists for reading, writing and maths.

It reads “Ofsted has been clear for some time that the teaching of reading holds the very highest importance, so if the school’s teaching of reading does not meet the good judgement, the school would not be good” and goes on to explain that the transition arrangements can only apply to science and the foundation curriculum in primary settings.

What can primary schools do now?

For primary schools striving to achieve 'Good' in reading, writing or maths, adopting a coherent curriculum programme can offer a rigorous and timely solution. But what is meant by a coherent curriculum programme? The Policy Exchange’s Completing the Revolution report explained that a “coherent curriculum programme:

  • is rooted in the knowledge and discipline of the relevant academic subjects, where explicit reference is made to the research evidence in these areas
  • provides the knowledge and skills children need to access a decent education, both academic and technical
  • is defined clearly through rigorous schemes of work, lesson plans, textbooks and lesson resources such as worksheets
  • includes assessment of both relevant prior learning and learning achieved by studying the curriculum
  • provides training, both in the substantive subject knowledge taught by the curriculum, and also in the effective use of the resources provided.”

These coherent curriculum programmes are described as ‘oven ready’ meaning that as soon as teachers understand their purpose (or intent) they can start implementing them immediately.

How will this help long-term?

For schools with an immediate need, adopting a ‘trust and go’ approach and implementing ‘oven-ready’ resources will help them to get started quickly and save both time and money creating their own approach. They can use it as a starting point to learn what works, and what doesn’t, with a view to personalising the curriculum for their school and students over time.

Examples of ‘oven-ready’ curriculum programmes

Bug Club Phonics meets 100% of the DfE criteria for teaching systematic synthetic phonics. It combines training, whole-class teaching software, decodable eBooks and printed books, and a range of practice resources ready for the Year 1 screening check.

Power English: Writing is a new, dynamic and evidence-based writing approach which encourages children to write for pleasure. Created to deliver the English national curriculum and to build a culture of writing for pleasure in school, Power English: Writing gives you flexible planning supported by high quality resources.

Power Maths is a whole-class mastery programme designed to spark curiosity and excitement and help you nurture confidence in maths. It’s the only mastery programme perfectly aligned to the White Rose Maths progressions and schemes of learning, written specifically for UK classrooms by leading mastery experts, and is recommended by the DfE*.

Talk to us

We’re working with schools to develop new and bespoke curricula. If you’d like to be part of this, or are interested in our ‘oven-ready’ coherent curriculum programmes, get in touch at:

*Power Maths KS1 and KS2 has been judged by the DfE panel to meet the core criteria for a high-quality textbook.

By Lindsay Nadin, Director of Primary at Pearson.