Ofsted Accused of Taking Incomplete View of Curriculum

Two preschool children boys reading a book together in classroom

Ofsted Accused of Taking Incomplete View of Curriculum 

Ofsted recently published a review setting out how it aims to see children catch-up post-pandemic. It sets out what the inspectorate expects to see in a high quality curriculum and pedagogy offered by an early years provider. While the review contains many of the features that might be expected, it has attracted significant criticism from some quarters for failing to represent both the practice of the early years sector and the significant body of research into what is effective. 

An open letter, signed by over 100 sector experts, identifies nine specific concerns. These range from the fact that the review only takes into account ages 0 – 4, excluding the reception year before compulsory schooling begins, to the definitions of curriculum and teaching, to the role of play. In the latter case, the letter’s writers suggest is complex and nuanced topic is not well reflected by the review.

This is only the latest in the ongoing tensions between policy makers and the childcare sector. Although the vast majority of providers accept and even welcome regulation, there have always been criticisms of Ofsted’s approach. While this is to be expected in an area as diverse and complex as childcare, it is also critical that the inspectorate ensure it is getting things right.

Although it is highly critical, the Open letter does seek to take a constructive approach. It suggests that Ofsted should trial its seven areas of learning and engage with representative bodies before publishing future reviews. 

Ofsted’s review can be read here.

The Open Letter can be read here.