How Ofsted’s New Framework effects your Drama Curriculum – Part One: Make your intent clear.

In January 2019 Ofsted published a new framework for inspection. The focus of this new framework has shifted since 2015, when the last framework was published. One of the key areas of the new framework is on the quality of education provided by a school. The former quality of teaching, learning and assessment judgement has been removed. Replaced by an overall quality of education judgement. By doing this Ofsted hopes to “de-intensify the inspection focus one performance data and place more emphasis on the substance of education and what matters most to learners”.

This is a bold statement and has several outcomes. The first is that pupil outcome and results will no longer be the main factor towards the schools judgement. The second is that the quality of teaching, learning and assessment will be more influential to the schools final judgment. The final outcome is that the schools curriculum now becomes very important in how the school is judged.

The way that this has been translated into the new framework is through three areas of focus. The first is the intent of the curriculum, the second is the implementation of the curriculum and the third is the impact the curriculum has on pupils. Intent, implementation and impact.

This is the first of three blog posts that will explore these three areas of focus and how they will impact your drama curriculum. This first post will look at intent.

You need to remember that there is no designed curriculum to fit in with the Ofsted frame work. Not every school will have the same curriculum and that is important because it means that you can design your curriculum for the pupils you teach. The curriculum you teach must reflect your schools context, values and cohort. This is why many schools are now asking for you to create some sort of statement of intent or curriculum rationale. The purpose of this is to make you, as the drama specialist and the person creating the curriculum, think and question what you are teaching and why you at teaching it.

When Ofsted come in and look at the school’s curriculum, they will look at every subject. They will be looking at a whole school level whether the schools curriculum offers a well balanced, consistent and coherent quality of education. If your school offers drama then drama should be part of that curriculum.

Ofsted will also perform something called a “deep dive”. These deep dives will go further than the whole school curriculum and look at specific subjects to test whether the whole school curriculum rationale is being implemented in subject areas.

In these deep dives inspectors will be looking to see that you, as head of department, have adopted or constructed a curriculum that is both broad and ambitious for the cohort of students you teach. There is no answer about what you should and should not teach, only that what you do teach pushes, stretches and challenges the students in front of you. It needs to challenge students with new drama knowledge. It needs to stretch students understanding of drama. It needs the push them towards succeeding in drama and in their future life. If you can justify your curriculum with these three statements then your intention of your curriculum should be robust.

Success is not measured in results and data but in whether the students know more about drama. That knowledge comes in the form of knowing definitions of key terminology. Knowing how to apply that key term in performance. Knowing the effect that key term has on what is communicated to the audience. It does not have to be learning by rote key terms.

Inspectors will be looking to see that you have planned and sequenced your curriculum appropriately. Sequenced so that it builds upon prior knowledge students have got from key stage two. Sequenced so that it prepares them with sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment. Planned so that knowledge and understanding builds steadily between these two points.

Inspectors will also look to see if the curriculum you offer is both ambitious for, and meets the needs of, pupils with SEND and disadvantaged students.

So Ofsted inspectors will be judging your drama curriculum based on where that it is well planned, sequenced and ambitious enough for your students and that they are making progress towards being knowledgeable in the subject of drama and that SEND the and the disadvantage students can also make that same progress.


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