Amanda Spielman has raised concerns about a lack of curriculum expertise in schools at this week’s ResearchED annual conference, held at Chobham Academy in Stratford, East London.
Ms Spielman believes that schools are continuing to grade individual lessons, despite Ofsted no longer carrying out the practice.
The chief inspector of schools voiced her fears during her keynote speech and emphasised the importance of research evidence in the inspectorate’s work.
Ms Spielman said: “Ofsted is absolutely right not to grade individual lessons now, and it would be great if all schools would stop doing it as well.
“One of the things that I get is that far too often inspectors are asked by school leaders ‘yes, but if you did grade lessons, what grade would you give it?’ It makes me tear my hair out.”
Lesson observations, she commented, were ‘still a valuable tool’ if they were properly designed around aggregations of well-made observations and ‘knew what influences could be drawn’.
The chief inspector continued: “The inspectorate is already carrying out research with parents on the way it reports, and is testing out alternative versions of our reports to communicate better and more clearly with parents.
“Ofsted is scoping research on how its grading structure affects school behaviour, which is potentially very interesting but too early to talk about”.
Speaking about the curriculum, Ms Spielman stressed that, although the curriculum was Ofsted’s main focus this year, it was not about creating an “Ofsted prescribed curriculum”, or introducing preferred styles by a back door.
She told the TES: “(Ofsted) will publish a commentary later this month that follows some fieldwork we have carried out, but one issue that comes up time and again really is the lack of expertise in schools now about curriculum thinking, about the content, the design, the implementation.
“Few schools are thinking really clearly about what should be taught in each subject, and how that content is best sequenced and how it should be fitted together.”