e-Bulletin – Issue 62

Local Update


It has been great to hear from so many of you about the work that you are currently undertaking around curriculum development. It’s heartening to see schools taking control and considering how to use curriculum as a powerful vehicle for school improvement. What for example will be special and distinctive in your context? I’m particularly excited by those of you who have told me that you’re starting with discussions about the values that you want to underpin the curriculum. If you’ve not yet found time to explore, I’d encourage you both at board and staff level to commit to some discussion time to agree a way forward. Re-visiting last week’s e-Bulletin where we shared links to slides from Headteacher Breakfast Briefing meetings and the most recent Focus on Governance session might be a good starting point.

This week, we are lucky enough to welcome Sir Robin Bosher to the Learning Campus to work with a group of leaders. He is picking up key points from the proposed new Ofsted framework and will use his session to update colleagues and pose challenging and provocative questions. The bullet points below taken from his slides, might be a super starting point for discussion and/or debate.

  • To what extent is your curriculum policy ordered to reflect intent, implementation and impact?
  • What do you currently consider is the intent of your curriculum? How is it context specific?
  • In lower KS2 and KS3, how are you evaluating the knowledge children have gained?
  • How are you setting high enough expectations of knowledge acquisition?


  • If you have moved to a 2 year KS3, how will you justify the change on inspection?
  • The national target for Ebacc participation is 75% by 2022, is that your intention? Are you moving substantially towards that target?


  • How do you balance the need for an emphasis on knowledge acquisition with teaching of important skills?
  • Is your curriculum broad and does it offer opportunities for deeper thinking?
  • How are you using a cross curricular approach to achieve deeper thinking?


Ofsted reports

Last week I encouraged you to keep an eye on Ofsted published reports to see emerging trends and steal ideas. I was reminded by Mark, the headteacher of Our Lady’s Roman Catholic School, that there was an even quicker way than going through the Ofsted website by visiting www.Watchsted.com  Thank you Mark!


Maths conference

We are looking forward to welcoming delegates to the Spring term primary maths conference on Tuesday 12 March, 09.30-16.00 at the Learning Campus, Green Park. The day will be led by Sarah Hale, who used to work at Buckinghamshire Learning Trust as a maths consultant, and is now deputy headteacher and maths leader at Stone CE Combined School. She will be joined by Jess Beech, maths leader at High Ash School, who will lead and facilitate one of the sessions. The day will have a focus on ‘Challenge for All’ and will include the latest updates for maths leaders, strategies for identifying and supporting children with maths anxiety, practical ideas for challenge and tips for developing memory and vocabulary. There will also be the opportunity for colleagues to share best practice and learn from leaders still working in the classroom. If your colleagues have not already booked and would like to attend please e mail info@learningtrust.net


Finally, I was lucky enough to work with a group of Buckinghamshire governors one evening last week – a real privilege; sharing information about all things Ofsted related. It struck me again how much is asked of a group of volunteers, who give so tirelessly of their time, energy and skill set. The contribution governors can, and do make to a school is significant and yet I know, at times, the responsibility and amount of information you need to digest can feel overwhelming. At BLT we do value your commitment and dedication – thank you for all that you do. It is noticed and valued and, most importantly, makes a difference to children and young people. We are so lucky, as a community of schools, to have so many people prepared to give up their time to work to improve provision in schools by volunteering as a governor. Please don’t underestimate the difference your contribution makes.

‘The purpose of life… is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.’   Ralph Waldo Emerson


Have a super week


Kate Rumboll

Director of Education Standards


National update

Additional Funding to Support Early Language Skills

The Children and Families Minister has announced that health visitors will receive additional training to identify speech, language and communication needs.   Specialist training will be provided to 1,000 health visitors who work in the most deprived areas in an attempt to tackle the ‘word gap’ – the gap in communication skills between disadvantaged children and their peers.

Further details can be found here and the transcript of a speech given by Nadhim Zahawi to the School Readiness Conference on 28 February 2019 can be found here

The Music Commissions: Retuning Our Ambition for Music Learning

The Music Commission has published a report exploring what it takes to make progress in music education.

The report, a result of an 18 month study, details 10 ambitions for music education in the 2020s and highlights that music teaching could be left behind if it does not keep up with technology.

The report can be found here

Best Practice in Due Diligence

The Department for Education has published best practice guidance for due diligence processes for academy trusts, maintained schools and local authorities.

The guidance can be found here

Maintained Nursery Schools: Contribution to Early Years Provision

The Department for Education has published research on how local authority nursery schools compare to other providers.  The report, which can be found here, examines how maintained nursery schools differ from other providers in terms of the quality of childcare offered and the provision of additional and specialist services.

Top Employers to Help All Primary Schools Deliver Careers Education to Pupils

The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, has announced that the Department for Education is working with industry leaders to help make first class career-related learning a reality in all primary schools. Top industry professionals, including the British Chambers of Commerce and BP, will be involved in the careers education programme.

More details can be found here