Curriculum CPD and the Quality of Education

by | Mar 9, 2023 | Curriculum, Leadership, Quality

Curriculum, CPD and the Quality of Education

What is the quality of education? Quality is a relative term and can cover a spectrum of what is excellent, luxury, fit for purpose, or simply poor. The OFSTED handbook for schools makes it very clear that it is how the curriculum is decided upon, planned and delivered that will determine how well the school is doing in terms of the quality of its leadership and of teaching and learning in the classroom and beyond.

Highly researched and innovative training written and hosted by Glynis Frater. Her first of two publications is available this month and its sister about the secondary curriculum will follow later in the year.

Creating a Knowledge Rich and High Quality Primary Curriculum – Early Years to Year 6

Online as a live webinar
or face-to-face in a venue

Creating a Sequential and Seamless Secondary Curriculum

Online as a live webinar
or face-to-face in a venue
Glynis’s book will be available March 2023

The whole conundrum of what to teach when, how to teach, what skills and knowledge pupils need to access the curriculum and teachers need to deliver is a long list. Possibly the most important element for all senior and subject leaders is to ensure pupils retain their learning, knowledge and skills across a whole cornucopia of subject and other skills and knowledge over time and make progress towards age related standards or carefully planned end points.

OFSTED’s Research commentary: assessing the quality of education from 2019 set out to measure the quality of inspection in terms of consistency of judgement of those inspecting schools. They focused on three strands,

  • the output from pupils as a result of the curriculum being planned and delivered
  • what the inspector is looking for when observing teaching and learning in the classroom
  • conversations about the curriculum with senior leaders, ‘deep dives’ with subject leaders to look at quality of delivery and impact married with the vision, ambition and intent for what the planned curriculum could achieve
Observing learning – moving on from here?

There are useful pointers within this research that we have used and senior and subject leaders can use in their pursuit of defining their own definition and creating clarity in terms of what accurately defines quality and its potential to lead to the desired outcomes for all staff and pupils across the school. There is a list of 18 indicators for visiting lessons of what inspectors will be looking for when they come and observe teaching in the classroom. There is also a useful table of what they want to see in terms of what pupils produce that shows their learning and its depth and the progress they are making over time.

Alongside these useful insights into what OFSTED are looking for it is most definitely essential to focus on quality as a powerful tool for defining whole school continuous improvement that is rooted in a set and values and beliefs that the school leadership and their teams, teachers, Teaching Assistants and pupils define within their own local and wider context. This is the best way to know that the conversations about the quality of education and the curriculum are owned by those who shape it and who know that it has the right content, accessibility and relevance to the school cohort, culture and context.

Measuring the Quality of Education

If we take quality as the concept that underpins what makes a good or outstanding school then there has to be a consensus as to what this means. There must be conversations and associated CPD that define what will be measured. The focus has to be on how well the school translates its vision and ambition for every pupil to achieve their full potential and how every leader, manager, teacher and assistant is part of a collective voice that knows that their contribution is to the quality standard defined as the benchmark that can be achieved, reflected on, assessed and celebrated.

Quality Assurance Systems Within EducationCreating Quality Assurance Systems in an Education Setting
A Learning Cultures webinar

or join us for a face to face in-venue day for this course on 14th July at a prestigious venue in Birmingham
Curriculum CPD and the quality of education

There are seven strands to a well-established standard for developing a quality assurance system for a school or college. They are built on the quality assurance kitemarks that define the systems within some of our most successful companies. These are:-

  • Positive and effective leadership
  • Identifying the needs of all learners including those with SEND
  • Engaging and empowering all staff
  • Focusing on the processes involved in achieving successful learning outcomes
  • Defining assessment and continuous improvement strategies
  • Data and information to inform evidence-based decision making
  • Involving all stakeholders to ensure quality processes deliver positive outcomes for staff, pupils and the wider community

We have created a tool for school quality that leaders and quality managers to use that amplifies each of the above into a set of criteria by which the school can begin to measure their progress towards the highest quality outcomes. They provide an opportunity for deep discussion, positive planning and defining of team priorities that can be achieved through positive actions over time. They form part of our course Creating Quality Assurance Systems in an Education Setting and will provide a framework for taking learning back to use with colleagues in the quest for high quality outcomes across the organisation.

CPD, Quality and a Learning Culture

Quality and CPD are essential partners. There is a vocabulary to the curriculum and there is a need to ensure that all staff can articulate the part they play in the development of high-quality outcomes that are part of the process of designing and delivering a sequential and seamless curriculum that embraces all learners. The ‘deep dive’ questions that OFSTED talk about and will use with subject leaders and their team in particular do require that there is a consensus and clear evidence that subject leaders and their teams engage in ongoing professional dialogue and meaningful professional development.

CPD is a well-used term, however there is a growing body of research evidence that re-enforces what we have always maintained that we need to add an L into the acronym and add the word learning into the phrase. In the same way that pupils as learners need time to embed their learning, practice their skills and make connections with the conceptual knowledge they are building, subject leaders, teachers and others need to have CPD that is designed to create opportunities to share and reflect on their learning in a meaningful way in their role in school.

Continuous opportunities to improve practice need to be an integral part of learning both for the recipients of the development activity and for pupils in the classroom. It must be about embedded practice over time linked to the quality standards that lead to opportunities to share best practice and encourage innovation and risk-taking as part of the process of learning and development. Where curriculum, CPD(L) and the quality of education are woven together there is synergy, a shared philosophy and shared values that build cohesion, high quality pedagogy and learning and a culture of continuing professional development and learning.

Curriculum from Learning Cultures – a new book, another one to follow and two exceptional courses back in venues in London in April.

Sequencing Science in the primary phase and in KS3
26th April 2023 Royal Society of Chemistry, Piccadilly, London

Cognitive Science in the Classroom – Putting theory into practice to deepen learning
27th April 2023 London

Glynis’s new book about the primary curriculum is available March 2023.

Its sister publication Sequencing a Seamless Secondary Curriculum will be published later this year.

Learning Cultures are the leading provider of curriculum, coaching and leadership training in the UK. We have a superb range of courses, programmes and services, CPDL is an essential ingredient in creating a high quality education. Give us a call on 01746 765076 or you can speak to Glynis directly on 07974 754241. Email us at or Glynis on

New Books


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

Find Out More

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