Ofsted is planning to help teachers decide which topics to "prioritise", "limit" and "omit" as they "face the challenge of catching up" in the wake of the Covid crisis, it has emerged.
The watchdog announced today that it will be publishing a series of research reviews and subject reports from April 2021, to develop a "well-evidenced view" of what constitutes "high-quality education" in each subject, and share what it has learned about "the state of the nation" in relation to the school curriculum.
The research reviews were planned prior to the Covid crisis, but their publication is "timely", as they can help schools decide which areas to "prioritise", "limit" and "omit" when it comes to catching up, Ofsted said.
Background: New inspections 'will reduce your workload'
"Our aim is that the reviews will support and inform those leading the thinking on subject education in our schools," the watchdog said.
"Professionals from the education sector will also be able to see the research that is informing our conception of a high-quality education in a variety of subjects.
Covid catch-up: Ofsted to publish research reviews
"Our research reviews were planned before the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, but their publication is timely. As schools face the challenge of catching up, they will need to think carefully about what content to prioritise, what to limit and what to omit.
"By setting out the most helpful ways of securing progression in each subject, the research reviews can provide a set of guiding principles for subject leaders."
The research reviews will "collate" existing evidence to develop what Ofsted refers to as a "conception of subject quality".
This will then be used to "create the research criteria for new subject reports", the watchdog said.
The subject reports will draw on Ofsted's own "deep-dive" inspection evidence, as well as research visits, and will cover all school phases from Reception to Year 13.
They will look at:
- Schools' understanding of progress in each subject and how that informs their approaches to the curriculum.
- The extent to which teaching supports the goals of the subject curriculum.
- The effectiveness of assessment used.
- The extent to which there is a climate of high expectations in subjects, where a pupil's interest in the subject can flourish.
- The quality of systems around subject teaching and support for subject-specific staff development.
- The extent to which whole-school policies affect the capacity for effective subject education.
- Access to the curriculum in the case of teaching pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).
The watchdog added: "More than anything, we hope that the work will help subject leaders in their curriculum planning in the short and longer term."