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Running Internal Deep Dives

Learn how to undertake an internal deep dive in your subject so you can explore your successes and areas for improvement, as well as building confidence about Ofsted's deep dive processes.

Our most popular resource

Deep Dive in Every Subject

We've got two options here: one pack containing every national curriculum subject or the option to explore deep dives packs in whichever curriculum subject(s) you lead, giving you flexibility to meet your school's unique needs.

Your key deep dive questions answered

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 the Ofsted deep dive process to support you in your monitoring and evaluation.

Who should I involve in an internal deep dive?

Internal deep dives typically involve the phase, subject or department lead and staff members who are responsible for teaching that phase/subject. If you split responsibility for a subject across phases, you’ll need all of these leaders to be involved in this process together to gain a full picture of your subject area across all year groups. You should use this as an opportunity to share and discuss your subject area in depth with members of the senior leadership team. In addition, you’ll also want to gather the views of pupils, and perhaps parents and carers too, depending on the subject area.

How could I structure an internal deep dive?

While Ofsted will likely conduct several deep dives into different areas of your school over the course of one or two days, mimicking the time frame Ofsted use may not be the best option. By using a longer period of time, you can gain an in-depth (rather than rushed) understanding of your subject area and any associated next steps.


You may wish to conduct your deep dive across a half term, distributing activities across team meetings and subject leadership time. If you’re not regularly given time for subject leadership, ask your SLT for additional release time to conduct the activities as part of wider school improvement actions or initiatives.

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