Friday 14 December 2018

HMCI commentary from the Ofsted annual report and the international curriculum programmes

Primary IPC

Jacqueline Harmer

International Curriculum Manager (IPC) 

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On December 4th Amanda Spielman published the Ofsted annual report for 2017-18. The report looks back both over the year and forward to the changes to inspections due in September 2019. The themes in the commentary address curriculum - the ‘substance of education’ and ‘getting the basics right.’ In this blog I explore how the report connects to the International Curriculum programmes and Fieldwork Education.

“Education and care services do not exist in isolation. They are and should be a central part of the communities they serve.” P.17

As members of Fieldwork Education our schools are part of a large international community of schools and learners. The International Learning Goals in the IPC provide an extended notion of community. They encourage engagement with local and global issues where Communities can benefit from students taking action as part of their learning. On a more local level the rubrics included in our Self-Review document specify success criteria for the community for each of the 9 criterion. Through each of these, the relationship between the school and community and how this supports improving learning is detailed.


“The substance of education is the curriculum. It makes no sense to think about education without it. Yet in recent years that substance has lost out to performance tables and data in the priorities of many in the sector.” P.26

Curriculum is at the heart of Fieldwork Education. Bringing together content and pedagogy to constantly strive to improve learning. Our schools have remained steadfastly focused on the substance of education using data in purposeful ways as part of the learning process.

“In early years, focusing on the substance means recognising the huge importance of early literacy, language and numeracy.” P.26

The exploration of pre-reading skills as a contributor to early literacy is evident in our IEYC units such as ‘Chattering Children’. While our programmes do not explicitly teach literacy skills the units provide ample opportunities to apply and develop skills in a purposeful way. Our units provide the basis for a ‘broad and balanced’ curriculum that goes beyond subject knowledge developing both skills and understanding.

“We know that in the early years, a crucial part of preparing children for school is developing their muscular strength and dexterity. The best nurseries recognise this and encourage children to be busy and active.” P. 27

The big picture from the IEYC unit ‘Little Movers Make Giant Strides’ emphasizes the importance of physical activity and develops learners’ awareness of the different ways their bodies can move. Children will be active and not just busy, but busy learning.

“from September 2019, we will use the new EIF to rebalance inspection to take more account of what is taught. It has been heartening to see the welcome this approach has received in the sector. The framework will reward nurseries, schools and colleges that are doing the right thing by their children and learners,” P.26

Our schools do a great job of doing the right thing through a combination of Subject, Personal and International goals and our commitment to rigour as expressed in Criteria 6 of the Self-Review document.  

“will allow teachers to get on with their core role: designing the curriculum, sequencing knowledge, ensuring mastery and improving learning: in short, teaching pupils and making sure they learn the right things.” P.26

The Route Planner supports teachers with curriculum design and sequencing. The Assessment for Learning programme focuses on skills mastery.

And improving learning, we’ve got that covered, it is the Fieldwork Education mission after all.

Find out more about our International Primary Curriculum