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Last updated on 7 January 2020
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Use our audit tool to spot weaknesses in your curriculum plan for any subject at primary level.

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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 definiton 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.

Finding your weaknesses

Our audit tool will help you pinpoint problems in your curriculum intent by looking at:

  • What you plan to teach – the depth, breadth, and complexity of your content choices
  • Why you teach it – your rationale
  • When you teach it – how you sequence units or topics, your timetable and delivery model
  • Who you teach it to – how accessible your curriculum is for pupil groups, such as pupils with special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities

What evidence will you need?

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

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.

We'll be adding articles and tools in the coming weeks to help you refine your curriculum and implement any changes. These will include advice on topics that may be at the root of your curriculum weaknesses, such as:

  • How to develop your school vision
  • How to sequence your curriculum to maximise pupil learning 


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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