DfE replies

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

As I noted back in early March, I wrote to Ofsted asking about the speech made by the new Chief Inspector (to the ASCL conference).  At the same time, I also wrote to the DfE asking, in particular, about this part of her speech:

"I suspect no one here will disagree with the vital importance of a curriculum which is broad, rich and deep.”

I said that, given that Section 78 of the 2002 Education Act says the curriculum for a maintained school or maintained nursery school satisfies the requirements of this section if it is a balanced and broadly based curriculum which (a) promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and (b) prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life,  I was puzzled as to why the Chief Inspector talked about rich and deep, but not balanced.  My specific questions for DfE were:

[1] What do "rich" and "deep" mean in curriculum terms?
[2] Has the idea of balance in the curriculum been dropped despite what the 2002 Act says?

Here is their response:

Dear Mr Scott

Thank you for your email of 14 March about the Chief Inspector of Ofsted’s recent speech and interview.  I can assure you that it is still a requirement for all schools to teach a broad and balanced curriculum, as stated in your email. This applies to academies and free schools, as well as maintained schools.

As you may be aware, Ofsted are an independent, non-ministerial body and I am unable to comment on specific words used by the Chief Inspector in her speech or interview. You may wish to contact Ofsted directly if you have concerns about this matter. 

Once again, thank you for writing.

Yours sincerely

J Radford [Ministerial and Public Communications Division]


A predictable straight bat to my arm ball.  They must be as puzzled about "deep" and "rich" as I am.  I've not yet heard from Ousted.  I wonder if DfE has.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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