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Deep Dives in Every Subject

Understand your subject in more depth and feel confident about your areas of strength and weakness with subject deep dive packs.

Most popular resource

Deep Dive in Every Subject: Full Curriculum Set

Looking to explore multiple subjects in your setting with a consistent approach? Wanting to quality assure learning in different subjects and build your subject leaders' skills in monitoring and improvement? Tailored for heads, trust leads, senior leaders and those with responsibility for their school's curriculum, this massive set of deep dive audits for every subject will help you to consider intent, implementation and impact questions across the breadth of your entire curriculum, allowing you to plan for improvement and (if you feel you need to) prepare for Ofsted.

Your key deep dive questions answered

What is the purpose of Ofsted’s deep dives into areas of your curriculum?

The purpose of an Ofsted deep dive is to assess and evaluate the quality of education in a specific subject area or aspect of a school’s curriculum during an Ofsted inspection. This assessment helps inspectors gauge how well a school is meeting the educational standards and expectations set by Ofsted and the government. This focused evaluation helps inspectors gain a more in-depth of the school’s strengths and weaknesses in these areas.

During a deep dive, inspectors gather evidence through various means, including classroom observations, interviews with staff and pupils, examination of pupils’ work and analysis of curriculum documentation. This evidence is used to make judgments about the quality of education provided. Deep dives can also highlight examples of good practice within a school. Inspectors may identify innovative teaching methods, effective curriculum design or successful strategies for supporting pupils’ learning, which can be shared as examples of best practice.

The findings of a deep dive can serve as a basis for providing feedback and recommendations to the school. This feedback helps school leaders to understand areas where improvement is needed and develop action plans to address weaknesses. Deep dives are a part of the accountability framework for schools and the outcomes of an Ofsted inspection, including deep dive findings, can have implications for a school’s reputation, funding and future inspections.

Why might I want to conduct my own internal deep dive?

Ofsted deep dives are intended as a ‘snapshot’ view of the quality of education in your setting within the one or two days that inspectors are present in your school. However, you have the luxury of seeing your curriculum taught every day and have the opportunity to explore the intent, implementation and impact of the quality of your curriculum over a longer period of time than inspectors do. This enables you to consider “curriculum effectiveness in more detail and as an ongoing conversation” according to Ofsted themselves.

If you wish to conduct your own internal deep dive to assess your curriculum or a particular subject area, there’s nothing stopping you from doing so. Ofsted encourages schools to take initiative in evaluating their curriculum quality and you may choose to use parts, or all, of this deep dive guidance to support you in your monitoring and evaluation processes. Please remember that internal deep dives should not be used to grade staff performance. Instead, they are collaborative efforts aimed at making curriculum improvements.

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