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Conversations to bring about change

09 February 2020

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Ofsted, the Race Track & Einstein

Not a syllabus, not an exam spec, not a random scheme of work but curriculum-learning that takes your learner on a journey (curriculum meaning a ‘track on which a race is run’). A journey that goes beyond the focus of the exam and looks at the maths and English that learners need for their futures.

Questions, Questions, Questions

What does this actually mean in practical terms? Einstein said that if he had 60 minutes to solve a problem on which his life depended, he would spend the first 55 minutes asking questions. So the following blog is a series of thoughts to encourage you to start asking more searching questions. Questions of your curriculum, schemes of work, lessons and outcomes and impact on learners.

The 3’I’s

The new EIF uses the words intent, implementation, impact, curriculum and sequencing. If the first rule of fight club is ‘you do not talk about fight club’ then we should not talk about Ofsted, but talk about how to do what is right and effective for our learners. We need to play a game of ‘Articulate’ with our staff, so we have a common understanding of what all these words mean?

Let’s see that in action

Our intent is what we want our learners to know and do and, importantly how we intend them to get better at it. The implementation is how we do it. How do we get better at English for example? Write more? Talk more? Spell better? Use a wider range of vocabulary? Check answers? Cope with less familiar contexts? Use more technically demanding styles of writing? Find more meaning in a text? Intent is not a series of impressive sounding platitudes, but something concrete and embedded in knowledge and skills. A curriculum can be SMART. There is of course no one way or ‘right’ curriculum. It needs to work for your students and for your contexts. It needs to have impact. Only then can we judge if the 3 ‘I’s have worked together.

Impact and evidence

We cannot just talk a good game. We need to see it played and some goals scored (impact!). This is why Ofsted have used the phrase let’s see that in action. But what will this look like, where is the evidence? This can be varied from how well students remember stuff, to the way in which learners engage with each other and ask questions. Evidence will be from work books and folders and the ability to complete tasks and so on.

Conversations to bring about change

Managers and teachers have to be able to ensures that the curriculum intent can be implemented, or know where is not being implemented and be able to address this.

To do that we have to talk, listen and be confident. Confident in asking some searching questions about curriculum design and approaches to teaching and learning and engaging in discussions about approaches to bring about change.

This is not always that simple. As managers we have to know what questions to ask and what to do with the answers. Then as teachers we need to have at least some of the answers and know what to do with manager (or colleague) feedback.

‘Is there a reason why you have chosen this content?’

‘How does this lead on from last week’s sessions – what will happen next?’

‘Talk to me about how you are shaping your curriculum. How is the learning sequenced?’

‘How do you support those who are not keeping up?’

We need to enable teachers to develop the answers and shape and implement the curriculum for best impact.

And that of course is the next stage, the next water jump, in our own curriculums!


Kevin and Sonia will be running the session on :
Conversations to bring about change – ‘Let’s see that in action’ at the AoC English and maths conference on 26 February.

For more information and to book a place visit: