There seems to be a worrying trend that education and training providers appear to be missing the point of OfSTED’s Education Inspection Framework and specifically, curriculum intent. We have been through the guidance again and again and we really are not seeing curriculum intent as just being a statement posted on a website. If this is the extent of an organisations curriculum intent activities then it would suggest that curriculum planning hasn’t been addressed as seriously as it should have been.
OfSTED Curriculum Intent
OfSTED’s definition of a curriculum is:
“The curriculum is a framework for setting out the aims of a programme of education, including the knowledge and skills to
be gained at each stage (intent); for translating that framework over time into a structure and narrative, within an institutional
context (implementation) and for evaluating what knowledge and skills learners have gained against expectations
Within this definition, education and training providers need to consider the curriculum intent as more than just a list of aims written on their website or on an overarching document.
Curriculum intent is
a framework for setting out the aims of a programme of education, including the knowledge and understanding gained at each stage”.
The key is in the word “framework”. A framework is not a bullet point list of aims. The curriculum intent framework is:
- Collaborative planning and consensus about the knowledge and skills that learners need.
- Objectives, outcomes, and apprenticeship standards are clear and define what needs to be achieved.
- The curriculum endpoints are clear and measurable and staff know what learners need to know and be able to do to reach those endpoints.
- There is a well-defined method to measure the effectiveness of your endpoint delivery.
- The curriculum has been sequenced and it demonstrates how new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before and towards its clearly defined endpoints.
- The curriculum is aligned to other organisational objectives
OfSTED’s publication “An investigation into how to assess the quality of education through curriculum intent, implementation and impact” is a really useful document to understand some of the findings from the pilots that took place before the publication of the new Education Inspection Framework. In the findings of curriculum planning it was found:
- Some organisations were unable to articulate how to map and build progression
- That curriculum documentation was often designed only at a superficial level.
- Leaders were frequently not considering sequencing between components of knowledge that would lead to conceptual understanding
- Curriculum design was focused on delivering content, but with a lack of consideration for the ordering and structure of that content.
- In some cases, curriculum design was little more than cutting and pasting the key objectives.
- Teaching was being driven by specific activities rather than ensuring that activities were delivering an ambitious curriculum.
In conclusion, it was noted that “This evidence suggests, therefore, that the future inspection focus on curriculum cannot use documentation and planning documents alone to understand the extent of curriculum implementation.”
Curriculum Planning Checklist
We have created a free and easy to use apprenticeship curriculum planning checklist. We will shortly be releasing a more general education checklist to be used by schools.