Schools are more willing to encourage children to take part in drama and music as a result of Ofsted's new inspection regime, chief inspector Amanda Spielman has said.
The chief inspector also told a Headteachers’ Symposium on Creativity and Education at the Royal Opera House today that every child should be given the opportunity to sing and to learn to play an instrument.
She said that since Ofsted launched its new curriculum-focused inspections, inspection teams have been looking more at music and performing arts, and applying the same levels of scrutiny that they would give to subjects such as English and maths.
Ms Spielman said: “While it’s early days, and we’ve only been inspecting under the new framework since September, people have said to me that schools’ willingness to encourage children into music and drama has increased.
“Inspectors are looking at music and the performing arts more often. They have been looking at curriculum and teaching in both primary and secondary schools.
Impact of new Ofsted school inspections
"And they’re applying the same rigour to evaluating music and performing arts as to other subjects, such as English and maths.
“We’re trying to tease out what schools are contributing to pupils’ music education, not just pick up what comes from private instrumental lessons that some can afford but are out of reach to many.”
Ms Spielman also spoke about the importance of the curriculum in music teaching.
She said: “We mustn’t lower our expectations. We need to give all children the experience of singing and when they’re ready, learning an instrument.
"For most children, taking part in music and performing is very satisfying. But there is also a need to teach the basics of music theory and build up children’s musical repertoires.
"Schools need to think about what’s in a core music curriculum. Not every child will go on to become a composer, but there really are some important things that every child should experience, know and be able to do.”
The curriculum is at the heart of the new Ofsted framework that has introduced a new quality of education grade, which looks at the intent, implementation and impact of a school’s curriculum.
Inspectors are also placing less weight than they did before on exam and test results.
Ms Spielman added: “Our new framework has rebalanced inspection to look more closely at the curriculum. Central to this is a ‘quality of education’ judgement that looks at what is taught and how it’s taught.
"It rewards schools for doing the right thing – providing that breadth and balance for all their pupils."