Ofsted launch consultation on new inspection framework

31 January 2019

On 17 January Ofsted published its new draft inspection framework, and accompanying draft inspection handbooks and research commentary.

As we have previously reported, Ofsted is planning to change the four key inspection judgements to:

  • quality of education
  • personal development
  • behaviour and attitudes
  • leadership and management

Ofsted is keen to put the focus on the curriculum, pushing schools to deliver a broad and rich offer, and away from a narrow focus and teaching to the test, and hopes the changes to the inspection framework can make this happen.

This is good news for arts subjects which, as we know, have been squeezed out of the curriculum due to a combination of the current accountability measures and funding.

The new framework also includes a specific reference in the ‘quality of education judgement’ to teaching ‘cultural capital’ and to ensuing a full curriculum is studied:

‘Leaders adopt or construct a curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give all learners, particularly the most disadvantaged, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.’


‘Learners study the full curriculum. Providers ensure this by teaching a full range of subjects for as long as possible, ‘specialising’ only when necessary.’

The inspection handbook defines cultural capital as the content of the National Curriculum which is a narrower definition than that which tends to be adopted in the cultural sector – however this is a definite step in the right direction.

The focus on ensuring schools do not narrow the curriculum, and ensure that students study the full range of curriculum subjects for as long as possible, is also welcome and should help to address the issue of a shortened Key Stage 3 limiting children’s access to arts subjects beyond year 8, or age 12/13.

We were disappointed to read that the English Baccalaureate will be enshrined within this framework, with specific mention of studying EBacc subjects in the ‘quality of education’ judgement, rather than specifying studying the national curriculum list of subjects.

A consultation on the draft framework will run until 5 April. The CLA will be responding to the draft consultation on behalf of its members.

Please do get in touch with any comments or concerns you would like us to include by 1 March via email to


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