In my blog this week I want to return to our recent Ofsted inspection and consider how one of the key threads of our school curriculum helped us achieve our ‘good’ judgement from the inspectors.
We have been acutely aware of the broadening of Ofsted’s focus for the new inspection framework and we were pleased that inspections were now going to focus on the whole curriculum in more detail, not just on English and Maths.
On September 17th and 18th this was proved to be true, as we worked with the inspectors on ‘deep dives’ into art, geography and computing alongside the usual focus on reading, writing and maths.
We were hopeful that this new focus would give us a chance to shine when our inspection happened, and I am pleased to report that whilst the experience of Ofsted cannot be described as unstressful, the new framework does seem to ‘do what is says on the tin’.
Whilst our broader curriculum is still being developed, and I can’t imagine a time when that won’t be the case, our intentions were clear to the inspectors and they could see that our children are all well catered for in terms of the provision of quality teaching across the curriculum.
The inspectors could also see that our curriculum is carefully designed to add to the ‘cultural capital’ of our children, which is something that has been given high priority in their new inspection framework. I strongly believe that this ‘cultural capital’ thread in our curriculum, which can be seen from playgroup up to Year 6, really helped us secure our ‘good’ grades for each of the Ofsted areas.
As we know, Ofsted defines increasing ‘cultural capital’ in children as “introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement”, and our curriculum at Wookey is packed with experiences which fulfil this definition.
I always say to new parents that we have a rule here to never turn down the opportunity of an experience which will add to the curriculum that we offer. Since the start of term for example, our children have visited a local art gallery, a care home in Wookey, had a visit from a poet, taken part in a wide variety of sporting activities, visited a local mill and raised money for a mental health charity by taking part in World Mental Health day. These experiences, with our focus on our core values of respect, engagement, independence and being active, sum up ‘The Wookey Way’ and I am delighted that the inspectors were able to reward our efforts in these areas with our overall judgement of ‘good’.
There were obviously lots of other factors that were taken into account in our overall judgement, but it is extremely pleasing that the new inspection framework enables us to celebrate more then just our published results. If our most recent experience with Ofsted is similar to the others that are taking place this term, then this is a huge step in the right direction.