Ofsted inspection: curriculum FAQs

Not sure how Ofsted will inspect your curriculum? Get answers to frequently asked questions under the 2019 framework.

Last reviewed on 10 March 2022
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 39158
  1. How does Ofsted decide which deep dives to do?
  2. Can headteachers join deep dive meetings with subject leaders?
  3. Can we show inspectors our internal assessment data even if they don't ask for it?
  4. Some schools struggle to recruit subject specialists. Does Ofsted take this into account? 
  5. What's the difference between the initial phone call in a section 8 inspection vs a section 5?
  6. What if Ofsted picks a deep dive subject for which there aren't enough timetabled lessons on a given day?
  7. What if a subject leader can't make it to school during the inspection and their subject is chosen for a deep dive?
  8. What if we don't have a subject leader for each subject?
  9. Some of our staff lead multiple subjects. Will Ofsted take this into account?
  10. Will inspectors want the subject leader to do a learning walk with them?
  11. Will Ofsted want schools to choose the pupils they speak to as part of subject deep dives? 
  12. Will Ofsted judge us unfavourably if we haven't fully adopted or redeveloped our curriculum?

We spoke to representatives at Ofsted and our associate expert Gulshan Kayembe, and interviewed recently-inspected school leaders to answer these questions. 

How does Ofsted decide which deep dives to do?

By looking at all the information it has about your school, including:

  • Your national performance data (such as Key Stage (KS) 2 SATs)
  • Information in the inspection data summary report (IDSR)
  • Curriculum information on your website
  • Relevant comments in your last inspection report

Inspectors will want to see a wide range of subjects, and will go for both your strong subjects and those that are still developing.

They'll also use the initial phone call with the headteacher (or other senior leader) to help them decide which deep dives to do. 

This means you might be able to influence which deep dives take place.

Always have a reading deep dive Always have a deep dive in 1 or more foundation subjects Often have a

The Key has taken great care in publishing this article. However, some of the article's content and information may come from or link to third party sources whose quality, relevance, accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability we do not guarantee. Accordingly, we will not be held liable for any use of or reliance placed on this article's content or the links or downloads it provides. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.