Curriculum

Curriculum lies at the heart of good teaching. Ofsted’s 2019 Education Inspection Framework focuses on the breadth of a schools’s curriculum offer.

Teachers have a crucial role in scaffolding children’s knowledge and understanding. This is only possible when their own subject knowledge is secure and for many beginning teachers, this can be a daunting thought.

You will want to support your beginning teacher by providing information on useful links to subject associations.
You will also be aware of subject experts within your own schools and can provide opportunities for beginning teachers to have professional conversations with subject leads.

Beginning teachers should be encouraged towards a ‘pedagogy of repertoire rather than recipe’ and they can do this by developing a strong knowledge of an appropriate range of teaching methods suitable to the subject, understanding why and when to use particular teaching approaches for a subject.



Beginning teachers should understand and explore the concept of progression within a curriculum. You might find this glossary helpful when discussing curriculum design with your beginning teacher. A consistent use of the terms will help to deepen professional learning.

curriculumwhat is intended to be taught and learned overall
conceptthe key organising ideas for a subject discipline
impactthe result of pupils learning from the teaching
implementationhow you go about teaching the curriculum/intent
intentthe content you expect children to learn and the sequence it is planned in
masterya teaching methodology that builds children’s conceptual understanding, language and communication
misconceptionspre-instructional knowledge that is wrong, illogical or misinformed
progressionthe purposeful sequencing of teaching and learning expectations across multiple developmental stages/ages
schemaa pattern of thought or behaviour that organises categories of information and the relationships among them

These questions may help you to explore, evaluate and elaborate your beginning teacher’s professional understanding in relation to curriculum.

  • How well does your curriculum design meet the needs of diverse groups of learners?
  • How have you ensured that your curriculum design is coherent and cumulative?
  • To what extent does your lesson sequencing allow for new learning to be linked with existing knowledge?
  • What impact does your subject knowledge have on pupil progress? To what extent?
  • To what extent does the design of your curriculum foster pupils’ appreciation of the subject being taught?

Mark Enser shares some thoughts about the significance of subject knowledge.

Colin Richards asks questions in relation to ‘Broad? Balanced? Curriculum?’

You may also find that the Ofsted videos on curriculum design are a useful resource to bring into your dialogues. There are a range of short clips and we think that these will be useful for you and your BT to select from and watch and discuss together.

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