End of school year update from GOVAS- July 15th 2018

 HMI Anne Seneviratne gave a highly thought provoking and very well received presentation on Ofsted's latest thinking on the curriculum at the GOVAS AGM and Summer term meeting  held at Priestnall school earlier this month. Slides from the presentations are available -here-.

Anne began with a summary of the Ofsted report  on " Key Stage 3: The Wasted Years", and then moved on to summarise the progress Ofsted had made to date in rethinking its approach to the curriculum for all schools , in part in preparation for the anticipated new inspection framework for schools, to be introduced in September 2019.-click this link for details-

Amongst the key messages was the central importance of "mutually respectful" primary- secondary  partnerships, which required strong headteacher leadership and commitment and an associated professional understanding of  pupils prior learning in KS2. Governors. She said "some North West LAs" ( Stockport included) have been actively seeking to support and challenge leaders to develop and deepen their focus on transition, in particular around pupil learning, and that Ofsted itself is focussing more closely on this and looking for evidence at secondary level of KS3 being given high priority by headteachers. Governing Boards need to be involved in this.

 For a while now, the new Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman (HMCI) has been stressing the importance of a broadly-based curriculum , and this message came through very strongly in the second half of the presentation, reflecting Ofsted’s ongoing work on the inspection framework. “The curriculum is going to be massive”, Anne said , stressing that the September 2019 new inspections will have “…at their heart …[the] school’s curriculum”.  Literacy (especially),“ The gateway to all learning”) and mathematics remain fundamental, but rote learning is to be avoided and the links between subjects emphasised. She added that findings from Ofsted’s recent school curriculum survey had shown weaknesses in curriculum knowledge and expertise, a narrowing of the offer to pupils, ‘teaching to the test’, and real concerns about social justice. This latter point was a theme throughout the evening, with pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds more likely to be heavily reliant on school input, rather than  from family and friends.  Some secondary schools decision to reduce KS3 to 2 years was a real concern for Ofsted we were told, raising issues of “…equity, entitlement, and [premature] student subject choices.” Schools continuing to opt for a 2-year KS3 can expect heavy scrutiny in any inspection.

Rather than a “ broad and balanced” curriculum discourse,  perhaps we should be thinking of it needing to be “deep and rich”, and  considering the knowledge we wish children to acquire.

In responding to questions, Anne acknowledged the difficulties many schools were facing in teacher supply, especially in the secondary sector, and that the renewed emphasis on foundation subjects and cross curricular themes creates challenges for subject leaders, especially in the primary sector. Indeed governors need to consider exactly what being a “subject lead” means in practice and how leads can be appropriately supported to make the role “real”, as it needs to be. She concluded by leaders and governors need to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of their curriculum offer- “ is it doing what you set out to do? “


GOVAS Committee Update

One new member was elected, Dayan Atenyam (Norbury Hall Primary school),and

Andy Kent, Ian Ritchie, Jurgen Roling, Anne Trafford and Robert Twigg elected for a further 2-year term of office. There are still vacancies- please get in touch if you are interested in becoming a committee member and supporting us in our work.

GOVAS Meeting with the Local Authority 11th July

  GOVAS continues to meet  with the Director at least termly. At our most recent meeting ,issues discussed included :

Our next scheduled meeting with the LA is on 18th September.

Best wishes to all governors and trustees for an enjoyable and restful summer break.

Andy Kent GOVAS CHAIR (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )