Putting Education at the Centre of Inspection

Primary or secondary, private or state-maintained, winds of change are sweeping across our collective educational landscape. 

But as a parent, headteacher or governor, if you haven’t recently received a school inspection report or been subject to Ofsted evaluation yourself, you may not know exactly what this means for your child or your school.

We at Sing Education are here to help. 

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2-PART SERIES: Ofsted Revamps Education Inspection Framework

Primary or secondary, private or state-maintained, winds of change are sweeping across our collective educational landscape. 

But as a parent, headteacher or governor, if you haven’t recently received a school inspection report or been subject to Ofsted evaluation yourself, you may not know exactly what this means for your child or your school.

We at Sing Education are here to help. 

From the purpose and practice of Ofsted’s new educational inspection framework to the gnarly matter of exactly what goes on during a curricular “deep dive” – in this report, we are going to lay out the form and function of Ofsted’s new system. 

From concepts like “top-level view” and the “deep dive” right the way through to “bringing it together,” we’ve assembled all the details you’ll  need to become well-versed in the framework’s principles and implementation. We’ve even brought together some great resources to help you prepare.

Image of diver with text "Ofsted Deep Dives"

Download our Ofsted Deep Dive Resource here

And better yet, we’re going to give you a peek into the rich treasure trove of bespoke curricular assets which Sing Education provides to its partner schools so you can see first-hand how we translate Ofsted’s objectives into on-the-ground, in-the-classroom activities, learning materials and school resources.

But first things first. What exactly is Ofsted’s new EIF?

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New Education Inspection Framework

From September 2019, Ofsted have introduced a new Education Inspection Framework. While retaining some of the elements of its predecessor the Common Inspection Framework – such as the evaluation of behaviour and attitudes, personal development and leadership and management – the new EIF makes some significant departures from the old regime. 

Aiming to put education squarely at the centre of the conversation around inspection – the new EIF shifts away from heavy emphases in the past on “standards” and “outcomes.” As such a school’s curriculum, e.g., its plan for learning, becomes much more important for inspectors and for the like-for-like assessment of multiple educational settings.

“The education inspection framework (‘the framework’) applies to the inspection of different education, skills and early years settings to ensure comparability when learners move from one setting to another. It supports consistency across the inspection of different remits.

Inspection provides independent, external evaluation and identifies what needs to improve in order for provision to be good or better. It is based on gathering a range of evidence that is evaluated against an inspection framework and takes full account of our policies and relevant legislation in areas such as safeguarding, equality and diversity.1

So what’s different? 

Ofsted’s “Quality of Education”

The range of evidence for one and how it is evaluated. 

According to analysis by the NASUWT (The Teachers’ Union), Ofsted states clearly that “Inspectors do not judge individual lessons, but connect evidence through lesson visits, scrutinising work and conversations with curriculum leaders, pupils and teachers.2” 

Moreover, when it comes to gathering further evidence, “A deep dive does not lead to a judgement about that particular subject. Rather the evidence from four to six deep dives enable inspectors to form hypotheses about which factors are systemic – that is, relate to the quality of education provided by the school as a whole.3

So on the whole the new EIF looks for curriculum strength as evidenced through lesson observation, subject deep dives and review of pupil work. The lesson, subject area and student are not being interrogated – on the contrary, the educational pathway is.

Thus enters the “quality of education” judgment. 

According to Ofsted, “This [designation] combines aspects of the previous key judgements of ‘teaching, learning and assessment’ and ‘outcomes’ to provide a more holistic view of standards, particularly focusing on the curriculum. We will continue to report on all aspects of a school, as set out in section 5 of the Education Act 2005, but will do so within the new judgement headings.4

So what else should we be aware of?


The Three I’s – Intent, Implementation and Impact

The new assessment framework reaches back and pulls forward the working definition of curriculum relied on in the previous Common Inspection Framework. As such “[The quality of education] conversation draws together curriculum, teaching, assessment and standards. In doing this, we draw heavily on the working definition of the curriculum that Ofsted has used over the last couple of years. 

This definition uses the concepts of ‘intent’, ‘implementation’ and ‘impact’ to recognise that the curriculum passes through different states: it is conceived, taught and experienced. Leaders and teachers design, structure and sequence a curriculum, which is then implemented through classroom teaching. 

The end result of a good, well-taught curriculum is that pupils know more and are able to do more. The positive results of pupils’ learning can then be seen in the standards they achieve. The EIF starts from the understanding that all of these steps are connected.5” 

Image of diver with text "Ofsted Deep Dives"

Download our Ofsted Deep Dive Resource here


A group of young students, wearing green school uniforms with embroidered crests, share a joyful moment together. A girl in the center laughs heartily, her happiness infectious, while a boy to her right looks on with a gentle smile, and another student, partially out of focus, engages in the interaction. The warmth of the classroom setting suggests a lively and positive learning environment.
Two scuba divers are exploring an underwater seascape teeming with marine life. They swim among colorful coral, plants, and fish, with bubbles trailing behind them, suggesting the tranquility and beauty of the ocean depths. The scene is set against a gradient of blue hues, evoking the serene and mysterious atmosphere of the underwater world.

Intent, Implementation and Impact for Music - A Specialist Approach

Sing Education bring our specialist music expertise and years of educational consultancy to the development of our learning schema and to meeting Ofsted’s requirements around curriculum intent. 

Namely, we aim to provide an enjoyable and challenging music curriculum which gives pupils the opportunity to sing, play, create and perform, both individually and collaboratively. Developing musicianship skills, through active music-making and exposure to a global range of music, gives pupils a wide understanding and appreciation of music and feeds into their own creativity and self expression.

As a result, our pupils become confident composers, creators and performers with an understanding of musical notation, the skills to critically evaluate their own and others’ performances and a passion to learn about and share their love of music.

When it comes to curriculum implementation we break that down more granularly depending on educational setting and pupil learning stage, namely:

  • In Nursery and Reception children begin to experience the joy of making music together, through singing games, songs, rhymes and listening activities. Using their bodies and untuned percussion, children learn to move and play in time to music. Children develop their ability to recognise and recall songs and to pitch-match, and are introduced to solo and small-group singing through games. Singing assemblies, Christmas performances and other school events give children opportunities to share their singing skills with the wider school community. 
  • In KS1 pupils enjoy whole class music lessons learning about pitch, pulse and rhythm through songs, chants and musical games. Pupils are encouraged to discover and develop their singing voices and delight in learning ensemble skills with glockenspiels and other percussion instruments. Whole year group singing performances in Reception and Year 1 give pupils the exciting experience of performing music before an audience.
  • In music lessons in KS2, pupils’ active listening skills, appreciation of music and understanding of musical theory are developed through exploring classical musical, pop music, musical theatre and world music from around the globe. With singing and making-music together at the core, music lessons provide exciting opportunities to perform, compose and reflect, both as an individual and as part of an ensemble. Singing assemblies further develop pupils’ confidence in using their voices.

Alice Cadman, our director of Teaching and Learning, reflects on Sing Education’s approach to impact, the third leg of the Osted’s assessment protocol, saying “When we measure the impact of a music provision in school, we look for the telltale signs of a great music education. Do the children love to sing? Is the music teacher well embedded into school? Do the children display the key building blocks of music in their music-making – not just in the music classroom but in assemblies, school shows, and their small group and one-to-one lessons? The impact of great curriculum delivery should be felt across the board, with children understanding that music permeates our whole culture and school life”.


How does a Deep Dive fit in?

Out of this revamped approach to looking at a curriculum from the top down and also again bottoms up, comes the introduction of the deep dive concept. 

According to TES, in primary schools, this most certainly means that Ofsted will perform a deep dive in reading, probably in maths and also in one or more foundation subjects. “As part of its deep dive, Ofsted will also carry out an “evaluation of curriculum leaders’ long- and medium-term thinking and planning including their rationale for content choices.6” 

Ofsted’s chief inspector Amanda Spielman has said: “The new quality of education judgement is rebalancing inspection to look more closely at what is taught and how it is taught. That is really getting to the substance of education with test and exam outcomes being looked at in the context rather than as a standalone thing in isolation.

[O]ur goal is really simple: to be a force for improvement through our inspections. We want to provide parents with the assurance they need, support teachers and leaders to excel – and help make sure all children and learners to get the education they deserve.7

Click here to continue to part two of our in-depth series on Ofsted’s new Education Inspection Framework – New Ofsted Protocol – What To Expect, How to Prepare.

To learn more about Sing Education, including how our music provision, online instrumental lessons and at home learning resources contribute to a well-rounded music curriculum, please visit www.singeducation.co.uk/schools

For even more info, practical tips and guidance, click below to download your FREE “Deep Dive Resource Recap”

Image of diver with text "Ofsted Deep Dives"

Download our Ofsted Deep Dive Resource here



About Us

Founded in 2014 and serving more than 9,000 children each week, Sing Education is a first class provider of primary school music education. Focusing on high-quality, singing-led tuition, we deliver a complete solution for schools which includes teacher recruitment, training and management, bespoke curricular resources and educational consultancy services. 

Through music lessons, singing assemblies, choirs, after school clubs and instrumental tuition, Sing Education works with students from Nursery right through to Year 6. Our core philosophy is that “Every Child Has A Voice,” and, as educators active in the classroom, our directors and teachers know firsthand how much young learners benefit from exciting, rewarding music education. 

#SingEducation #MusicChangesLives



  1. The education inspection framework – Ofsted
  2. Deep dives – NASUWT
  3. As above
  4. Inspecting the curriculum – Ofsted
  5. As above
  6. How will Ofsted inspect the curriculum? – TES
  7. As above


A group of schoolchildren in uniform are actively engaged in a music class, with one child in the foreground playing a tambourine and another confidently shaking a maraca, while their classmates participate with clapping and attentive expressions, all contributing to a lively and collaborative learning environment.

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