QuickRead: Curriculum

Curriculum is central to Ofsted's 2019 inspection framework. We summarise what you need to know about it in a single page, which you can download as a ready-made resource to share with colleagues.

Last reviewed on 30 January 2023
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 36672
  1. What do we mean by 'curriculum'?
  2. Statutory requirements
  3. Your role in monitoring the curriculum
  4. Be Ofsted-ready

What do we mean by 'curriculum'?

Under the 2019 framework, inspectors judge your school’s ‘quality of education’. This means Ofsted can rely less on exam results as a measure of quality by taking a school's broader curriculum offering into account.

Ofsted has a working definition to help inspectors have the right conversations with schools about their curriculum, but it all boils down to:

  1. Intent: what you want pupils to know, and be able to do, by the time they leave your school (in other words, curriculum planning)
  2. Implementation: how the curriculum is being delivered 
  3. Impact: how the curriculum is making a difference

Statutory requirements

Maintained schools are statutorily required to follow the National Curriculum.

Although not required to, many academies also follow it because their funding agreements say so. Academies might also choose to follow it to make sure they meet their inspection standards. 

As a governor or trustee, you'll monitor individual subjects within the