Curriculum intent: audit tool (primary)

Use our curriculum intent audit tool to spot weaknesses in your curriculum plan for any subject at primary level.

Last reviewed on 15 December 2021
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 38529
  1. What is curriculum intent?
  2. Collect your evidence
  3. Download the tool
  4. How to complete the audit in a trust 
  5. You know your problems – now what?

What is curriculum intent?

Your curriculum 'intent' is your curriculum plan.

It's what you want pupils to know and be able to do, both at different stages of their education (for instance, spring term of year 4) and by the time they leave your school. 

Each subject/topic/area of your curriculum will have its own intent (or plan) for what you're going to teach, when, and why. 

Ofsted's working definition of intent is:

A framework for setting out the aims of a programme of education, including the knowledge and understanding to be gained at each stage...

Your curriculum intent isn't a vision statement or a curriculum statement. That's because you simply can't summarise all of your curriculum planning in a paragraph or two!

However, your curriculum intent should flow from your school's vision and your educational philosophy. We have more guidance on this coming soon.

Collect your evidence

To use the tool, you'll need to first gather your:

  • Long-term and medium-term plans
  • Curriculum maps
  • Lesson plans
  • Notes from conversations with subject leaders and teachers

Download the tool

How to complete the audit in a trust 

This partly depends on your trust's structure and curriculum approach, as well as the aim of the audit. 

If your trust has an entirely autonomous curricula, or trust leaders want to examine the strengths and weaknesses of one particular school, school leaders can complete the audit and report back to the trust central team. Or, school leaders can do it in collaboration with trust leaders if the trust wants more central involvement.

However, if trust leaders are looking to compare schools and find areas for alignment, it's better to have central trust leaders complete the audit with school leaders from each school in turn. This way, there's a consistent core of people involved who are well-placed go through all the audits afterwards. 

You know your problems – now what?

Your RAG ratings in your audit will tell you where your weak spots are. Next, go to our curriculum resource hub for advice on how to address them. 


Vicky Crane is an independent consultant and trainer with over 10 years of school improvement experience, including holding senior local authority positions. She works extensively with primary schools in the Yorkshire region, is a chair of governors for a large primary school and is the founder of ICTWand.

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