Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Draft Ofsted Framework 2019 - implications for primary languages

Last week I was having a look at the draft for the new Ofsted framework, which is due to come into effect in September.  It's already been reported in the press that this new framework will focus more on the wider curriculum, and that can only be good news for Languages in Key Stage 2.

Several of the statements in the draft could potentially impact the provision of Languages in Key Stage 2 in primary schools, and gives us some hope that Languages will be taken more seriously if Ofsted is more likely to be looking at them as part of the wider curriculum.

This paragraph details "The three I's" by which a school will be judged:

155. Inspectors will consider the extent to which the school’s curriculum sets out the knowledge and skills that pupils will gain at each stage (intent). They will also consider the way that the curriculum selected by the school is taught and assessed in order to support pupils to build their knowledge and to apply that knowledge as skills (implementation). Finally, inspectors will consider the outcomes that pupils achieve as a result of the education they have received (impact).

This next paragraph shows that Ofsted are intending to ensure that children are taught a wide range of subjects and are not having to focus on English and maths:

161. Ofsted’s research into the curriculum has shown that some schools narrow the curriculum available to pupils, particularly in key stages 2 and 3. Our research shows that this has a disproportionately negative effect on the most disadvantaged pupils. It is appropriate that, in key stage 1, teachers focus on ensuring that pupils are able to read, write and use mathematical knowledge, ideas and operations. From key stage 2 onwards and in secondary education, however, inspectors will expect to see a broad, rich curriculum. Inspectors will be particularly alert to signs of narrowing in the key stage 2 and 3 curriculums. 

There is an interesting clause in the descriptors for a "Good" judgement.  If teachers do not have good knowledge of a certain subject, Ofsted would like to recommend that school leaders provide support for them.  Of course, this may just mean they will be provide an off-the-shelf scheme that does all the work for the teacher...

Pupils study the full curriculum; it is not narrowed. In primary schools, a broad range of subjects (exemplified by the national curriculum) is taught in key stage 2 throughout each and all of Years 3 to 6........Teachers have good knowledge of the subject(s) and courses they teach. Leaders provide effective support for those teaching outside their main areas of expertise.

The current national curriculum for KS2 Languages states that primary Languages should lay the foundations for further study in KS3.  There is an echo of this in this section of the draft:

Pupils are ready for the next stage of education, employment or training. They have the knowledge and skills they need and, where relevant, they gain qualifications that allow them to go on to destinations that meet their interests and aspirations and the intention of their course of study. 

And even though the KS2 programme of study makes no explicit mention of culture, it is widely acknowledged that a good quality Languages education will necessarily include aspects of intercultural understanding.  This could be of great importance to a school's final judgement:

153. Before making the final judgement on overall effectiveness, inspectors must consider the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils at the school, and evaluate the extent to which the school’s education provision meets different pupils’ needs, including pupils with SEND. 

This draft is under consultation until the end of this term.

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