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Ofsted reports 'focused overly on English and maths over other subjects'

11/10/2017 Joanna

Education regulator Ofsted may be overlooking the importance of a diverse curriculum by putting too much of a focus on English and maths in its inspections.

This is according to a new report from Tes, which has analysed the key findings sections of all existing Ofsted inspection reports and found that maths and English are mentioned much more frequently than any other subjects.

At secondary level, maths was mentioned in 57 per cent of reports and English in 56 per cent, compared to only 21 per cent for science. Sport, meanwhile, was mentioned in a mere eight per cent of reports, with the figures falling further to six per cent for languages, less than five per cent for history, geography and music, and fewer than one per cent for biology, chemistry or physics as individual subjects.

This trend was even more pronounced when considered at primary level, with subjects other than English and maths only seeing a handful of mentions, with science appearing in four per cent of reports, languages and religious education mentioned in three per cent, and history and geography appeared even less frequently.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "It will be interesting to see whether Ofsted starts looking at more subjects. Otherwise, it'll be presiding over a narrowing of the curriculum that I think we're going to look back on and regret bitterly."

Responding to the report, a spokesperson for Ofsted said it will soon be publishing a curriculum review that will in part examine how future inspections can better reflect the full breadth quality of the curriculum on offer, although it noted that a focus on the core skills of maths and English remains important.

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