OFSTED

Ofsted loThis section of the site was added in 2020 to meet the request from history subject leaders who were faced with the quite unreasonable demands of the new OFSTED Framework of 2019 (EIF).

In particular, they asked for guidance on how best to prepare for what seem like quite rigorous requirements of deep dive inspections. I have always fought shy of focussing too much on trying to please OFSTED. Surely, if you are doing your job well, your quality will shine through. Unfortunately, my experience of carrying out over 60 inspections for OFSTED at both primary and secondary level I realise that this cannot be taken for granted. My most recent analysis of OFSTED reports under the new Framework reveals a disturbing lack of judgement from inspectors who are saying crass things such Ks1 pupils lack a grasp of terms such as ‘empire’. Yes, I had to read it twice, too.

So now I have decided that history subject leaders deserve to be supported in practical ways on this website. You’ll find help in four categories:

1. The 2019 Framework ( EIF) and how it relates to history, both primary and secondary
2. Deep dives – What deep dives mean for history leaders and how to prepare for them. This includes a comprehensive list of questions that seem to mostly frequently asked.
3. What OFSTED are looking for – This explores in detail the sort of criteria being used to make judgements in history. We are still awaiting the detailed guidance to inspectors which I saw a draft of last year.
4. Recent reports – some verbatim, some summarised to give you a flavour of what seems to be praised and what criticised. You don’t have time to scan these, so I’ve done it for you and will keep it up to date, publishing termly dated digests to see if the issues start changing.

Excerpt from recent OFSTED report from 2021

As its impossible for you to know what comments OFSTED are making when commenting on history in individual schools, we undertake a systematic trawl from time to time to ensure that our advice about OFSTED’s...
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March 2020 inspection

The history curriculum is currently being reviewed. You and your subject leader know that current planning in history does not emphasise with enough precision what the school intends pupils to know, remember and be able...
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OFSTED’s view of deep dives in history

Recently Matthew Purves , the Deputy Director for Schools, set out OFSTED’s latest thinking on deep dives in primary schools. He makes reference a number of times to what that means in history. Here are...
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Report on leadership of primary history 2020

One of the key features underpinning the high quality of history learning was that history has a high status throughout the school, recognised by the headteacher. The subject leader attended local network meetings and time was made available for feedback...
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