NATRE statement on the new Ofsted framework

NATRE is pleased that the new Ofsted framework emphasises the importance of the broad and balanced curriculum including RE for all pupils in all school types. As the first inspection reports under the new framework are released it is pleasing to note that inspectors are reporting where improvements are needed in RE. NATRE is keen for schools who need support to be in contact and join our subject association in order to receive the resources, training and support we offer.

NATRE also notes that these new reports will be a helpful reminder to all schools and school leaders, including governors, as a reminder that high quality RE has to be taught at all key stages.

These recently published reports act as a reminder of how even when RE isn’t the focus of a deep dive a lack of provision will be picked up.

An example from a Primary academy (Overall grade RI) Pupils are starting to build knowledge in some subjects. Pupils in Year 4 told us about their topic on ancient Rome and what they have learned about democracy. In other subjects planning to build pupils’ knowledge is less well developed. For example, in religious education (RE) pupils know little about religions other than Christianity. Pupils do not learn a modern foreign language.

What does the school need to do to improve?

Pupils do not know enough about cultures and religions different to their own. Leaders have put plans into place to address this, but they must continue to review this work to ensure that pupils have opportunities to develop the knowledge they need to prepare them for life in modern Britain.

An example from a Secondary academy (Overall grade RI) Most teachers are now teaching pupils the subject content that matters the most, apart from religious education, which is limited.

What does the school need to do to improve?

Currently, some pupils in key stage 3 do not cover subject content sufficiently well to be able to draw upon their learning in the future. This is because subjects such as religious education lack prominence in the curriculum. Additionally, the time pupils spend learning new content is limited in some subjects as teachers attempt to teach a broad and balanced curriculum that is commensurate with the national curriculum. However, time is limited, and teachers sometimes gloss over important learning points. This leads to gaps in pupils’ understanding. Leaders must ensure that pupils are afforded sufficient time to learn important subject content in detail for as long as possible, including in religious education.

NATRE only publish extracts of reports and don’t publicly name the schools concerned. Our aim in publicising this information is for all schools to understand the importance of RE and we recognise that individual schools may well be part way through a process of improving RE provision and will certainly be acting on the recommendations in their reports.

NATRE members can access the following resource: 'Understanding the new
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