Arts Award and the Ofsted Inspection Framework (2019)

Arts Award and the Ofsted Inspection Framework (2019)

Picture of Annabel Thomas

BY: Annabel Thomas
20 Jan 2020

To help support your planning for 2020 and beyond, we have taken a look at the Ofsted framework and highlighted all the areas where Arts Award can have a positive impact for your school relating to this. Read on for an overview on Ofsted, and how we think Arts Award can help you.

The new framework

For our colleagues in the school sector it won’t have passed unnoticed that the new Ofsted framework came into effect from September 2019. This new framework has changed the areas that schools will be assessed against, to four key areas: PHIL BARNES PHOTOGRAPHY (29 of 84)

  • Quality of education 
  • Behaviour and attitudes
  • Personal development
  • Leadership and management

There are no longer separate judgements for the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, with this being subsumed into the broader ‘quality of education framework’. Additionally, rather than attempting to see all the work a school does, inspectors will focus on a smaller number of subjects, ‘deep diving’ into the curriculum, implementation of this and the CPD of staff. They hope that this will develop depth of understanding, and result in more secure judgements.

Perhaps most notably, Ofsted have been clear that they will not be using internal assessment data, and will not be requesting this from schools. They hope that this will help to reduce teacher workload, through clarifying what’s required by Ofsted, and what data gathering is useful for any individual school to do. An excellent blog from Third Space Learning summarises further key changes here.

Quality of education judgement

By far the most weighted of these areas is ‘quality of education’. Within this section inspectors will look at the intent of the curriculum (what are you hoping students will learn?); the implementation of the curriculum (is what you say will be taught from your curriculum being taught?); and impact (is your planned curriculum having the desired outcomes, what are these and what is the impact on learners?). There is a difference between the intended, taught, learnt and assessed curriculum, but Ofsted will be looking to see how far the intended curriculum translates into appropriate outcomes, including success in SATs and/or GCSEs, A Levels and BTECs.

Ofsted are keen to see thoughtful, coherent curriculum design with sequenced learning journeys. They’re also clear that all schools should aim for equity of access to the curriculum (ensuring that it is appropriate to all children in the school) and that there’s a focus on attainment. Outcomes are key – whatever the school decides are the right outcomes for them.

Retaining a broad and balanced curriculum

Queenborough In a positive move for the arts, the commitment to a broad and balanced curriculum is reaffirmed, as Ofsted’s National Director of Education Sean Harford says:

‘We want to make sure that good results come from teaching a broad, rich curriculum. We want to reflect real learning, not just intensive preparation for a test or to move up to the next ‘stage’.’ We find this very encouraging for the potential positive impact that this may have for how schools view the arts, and their role in a broader school curriculum, while not ignoring the pressures that schools continue to face around SATs and the EBacc especially.

In our current education system, there are also academies who can set their own curriculum beyond the constraints of the National Curriculum. Therefore, Ofsted’s focus on curriculum design and implementation makes sense within this context.

Make it work for you

One aspect of the new framework that Arts Award has been pleased to see is the emphasis on making the right decision for your pupils. This extends from the content of a schools’ curriculum through to the assessments they sit. This can provide an opportunity for schools to embrace the arts further and for Arts Award to act as a measurable outcome demonstrating the impact of your curriculum.

Additionally, as Arts Award is a flexible qualification, it is a way to demonstrate how your arts curriculum is accessible to all pupils, and how you are providing all young people with outcomes that help them progress to the next stage of education.

Arts Award and Ofsted

kings 17.06.19 (250 of 1127) There’s a huge amount to take in with the new framework and we have only just begun to scratch the surface! We hope you will take a look at our new resource exploring the links between the Ofsted framework and Arts Award, and that this can help you to make the case for the arts and Arts Award in your school.

If you would like to read further about the opportunities for the arts presented in the new Ofsted framework, we recommend this excellent blog from the RSA, published last summer.


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