Ofsted: Inspectors need help on secondary curriculum

Ofsted is giving its inspectors extra help because of concerns about their reliability in checking the secondary curriculum under the watchdog’s new inspection framework, it was revealed this morning. Tes reports.

Research by the watchdog has found that using workbook scrutiny and lesson visits to assess teaching quality and curriculum was less effective in secondary school than it was in primary schools.

Daniel Muijs, Ofsted’s deputy director for research and evaluation, said this was because inspectors were “looking at lessons outside of their subject expertise.”

The findings come in a report the inspectorate published today, which highlights how it will look at lessons and pupils’ workbooks as part of the deep-dives in specific subjects it will complete to assess a school’s curriculum under the new inspection framework.

Professor Muijs said: “In schools, we found substantial levels of reliability in primary and on behaviour in secondary. We found only good levels of reliability on curriculum and teaching in secondary.

“That the secondary curriculum and teaching measures were lower was due to inspectors looking at lessons outside of their subject expertise. To counter this, we are developing subject-specific guidance for inspectors in all subjects. This is in collaboration with expert groups.”

The research scrutinised more than 300 workbooks from years 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9, covering maths, English, history and geography, science and French. 

Read more Ofsted: Inspectors need help on secondary curriculum 

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