Curriculum Conversations: Defining the quality of education

by | Sep 9, 2022 | Curriculum, Leadership, Quality

Curriculum Conversations: Defining the quality of education

Curriculum Conversations: Defining the Quality of Education

The quality of education in the September 2022 OFSTED Inspection Handbook for Schools lists what inspectors will want to look at when they visit schools this term and beyond.

There is a comprehensive list, (Quality of Education Paragraph 214) that explains the focus for inspectors. It is useful as a starting point for your own curriculum conversations about what is working well and your priorities for change. It is broken down into 3 key areas,

  • Curriculum
  • Teaching
  • Pupil outcomes including those with SEND

Many of the terms are relative and need those curriculum conversations to ensure that everyone shares a collective understanding in each individual subject context. Words or phrases such as ambitious, sequenced, rigour, disciplinary knowledge, broad, expert knowledge, key concepts, cultural capital, achieve well, long-term memory need to be carefully unpicked to ensure that everyone knows how they apply in different subjects and in cross and extra-curricular contexts.

We have two training courses, one for the primary and one for the secondary sector of education where we have created resources to support senior, middle and subject leaders steer the curriculum conversations and build highly cohesive teams. We unpick the terms and look closely at the essential focus on sequencing, concepts, cognitive science, essential knowledge and skills, parity and breadth and depth.

Creating a Consistent, Knowledge Rich & Sequenced Primary Curriculum
Sequencing for Progression and Deep Learning in the Secondary School

Curriculum conversations between senior, middle and subject leaders

Curriculum conversations: building a consensus for high-quality learning

OFSTED explain that it is the curriculum that sets out the aims of a programme of education and provides the structure for how the curriculum is designed and delivered. The curriculum conversations that senior, middle and subject leaders have should, of course, be guided by what OFSTED say they want.

However, the most effective outcomes will come from a commitment that is expressed and communicated by those who shape a curriculum offer where the goals are owned by those who have an unwavering belief that a high-quality education will serve the school and its local and wider context and create a culture of excellence.

Creating Quality Assurance Systems Within an Education Setting

We have looked in detail at Evaluating leadership and management (Leadership and Management Paragraph 313) in the OFSTED handbook. We would like to offer, free of charge the proforma and set of questions we have developed for our new senior leaders programme. To obtain a copy go to our Contact us page add in your contact details and type in Evaluating Leadership and Management in the message box and we will forward a PDF copy to you.

Senior, curriculum and subject leaders need to be clear as to how they want the curriculum to be planned and implemented and have a set of goals that define the vision and ambition for all pupils. The curriculum plan must include all subjects and involve all subject leaders and teachers in defining the scope and reach of the curriculum offer so that each subject focuses on how to divide the content into its component parts so that it is sequenced in a logical progression, systematically and explicitly.

It should contain detail as to what knowledge and skills pupils will gain over time and how these will be evaluated in relation to expectations carefully crafted for all pupils whatever their starting point.

Coaching and Team Building for Subject Leaders – Creating curriculum cohesion a live webinar
The Expert Series – Creating high quality subject specific curriculum plans, pedagogy and learning a suite of subject specific live webinars for subject leaders and teachers

Curriculum Conversations: Pedagogy and learning

Once a plan emerges then the curriculum conversations must include all those who will be delivering the sequential and progressive curriculum offer.

Investing time in understanding the strengths within the different curriculum teams and the gaps they may have in their own subject or pedagogical expertise will help to ensure that a profoundly rich curriculum will emerge where all teachers are part of creating a culture of learning that leads to pupils having access to deep knowledge and a range of core and wider skills they will be able to apply and remember in a variety of contexts. Now is the time to focus particularly on how to enhance the skills and knowledge of all your staff through the appraisal process.

Rethinking Appraisal – Creating a culture of professional learning and collaboration a live webinar
Rethinking Appraisal and Performance Management a CPD box set
Coaching Towards Excellence in Teaching and Learning a live webinar

High-quality learning should be at the heart of every curriculum conversation

Curriculum Conversations: An integral part of planned professional development

Curriculum conversations need to be an integral part of planned professional development linked to curriculum cohesion and to the vision for excellence and improvement where every member of staff has a part to play in shaping a high quality education for all.

Professional learning communities that exist to build curriculum cohesion both within the subject and where concepts transcend subjects will help to foster a collaborative approach that will deliver high quality outcomes. Where this is the approach, OFSTED can come any time they like because the wheels of commitment to excellence are turning and everyone is working towards the same vision that delivers the highest possible outcomes for all pupils and staff across the organisation and beyond.

Coaching is the perfect vehicle for creating a culture where positive change builds outstanding teams. Find out more about coaching here, and how it is the answer to creating highly successful professional learning communities. Have a look at our suite of coaching webinars, we have something for all your staff. Talk to us about our INSET programme where we can tailor our outstanding training to meet your context.

We have a great team, some outstanding resources and everything we do is built on sector led research, a deep commitment to learning and a profound understanding of the world of education. Give us a call on 01746 765076 / 07974 754241 or email us at and we will be in touch.

New Books


The book ‘Primary Curriculum Design and Delivery by Glynis Frater‘ has now been published.

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