CPD General GCSE A-Level

Ofsted & Music Teaching

In this blog I will consider the new Ofsted framework and how this might affect us as Music Teachers.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about Ofsted & Music Teaching recently. I guess it is all the new framework talk that has got me thinking. So I wanted to share some of my thoughts on Ofsted & Music Teaching! And I am feeling quite positive, I think!

The New Framework

I won’t go over everything, but I wanted to look at a few of the new aspects of the framework and link them to Music Teaching. It is important that we are ready for Ofsted, but also see the impact that music can have on an inspection – in a positive way. The more I think about Ofsted & Music Teaching, the more I feel reassured that the new framework might actually benefit us.

Quality of education

  • Intent: Curriculum is ambitious and gives all learners the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life; curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced; same ambitions for all learners; learners study full curriculum.
  • Implementation: Teachers have good subject knowledge with support from leaders; teachers present subjects clearly and identify misconceptions; taught to remember in the long term; use assessment effectively; environment, resources and materials all conducive to positive learning; rigorous teaching of reading, mentioning reading for pleasure and phonics.
  • Impact: Effective learning across the curriculum (where relevant, this is reflected in test results; learners ready for next phase in life; learner read widely).

I think we as Music Teachers do a lot of this. We have clear intent in our teaching and we will often link music making to real life scenarios. We will often have lots of wider subject knowledge and understanding and this helps us with our implementation. And the impact of music is clear both in and out of the classroom – Cultural Capital everywhere! We have lots of resources at our disposal and we are good at doing things in a sequence. Take learning an instrument and building up knowledge through scales. And often we are challenging students by introducing new topics, new technologies and new styles of music.


But I do think that focusing on Intent is a good place to start. I have been mulling over a few questions:

  1. Why am I using this style or genre for this scheme?
  2. Why are Year 9 composing in this style?
  3. Is this the best piece of music to use for this lesson?
  4. What impact will this task actually have on them?
  5. Is this scheme of work actually helping students make progress.

Have a go at this thought process and then make sure you explain it to your class. Letting students know why you are doing something is really obvious. But when you start doing it regularly you will find it really helps.

I am doing Minimalism with Year 9 and I am making sure they understand why we are studying it and using it as a starting point for a composition.

With Year 13 just yesterday we listened to Mozart 41 and I explained that we were looking at Wider Listening skills & Context. I then clearly linked this to exam skills.

Try sharing Intent with students and colleagues and it will really help.

Behaviour and attitudes

  • High expectations; positive attitudes: show resilience
  • High attendance and punctual
  • Positive, respectful relationships: learners feel safe

I also think we are pretty good at this. We set high expectations as musicians because we are always striving for a goal. Getting a rhythm right, playing a melody correctly or striving towards a performance all help with positive behaviour and attitudes.

But how positive are you as a music teacher?

Personal development

  • Curriculum extends beyond the academic, technical or vocational
  • Curriculum covers pupil wellbeing
  • Prepares learners for next steps

Our music curriculums extend beyond the academic in so many different ways.

But can we show this to Ofsted?

I also believe that we are giving students character building experiences which benefit their wellbeing and prepare them for later life. Working as a team, leading others and standing up in front of an audience – all crucial for next steps in life.

Leadership and Management

  • Clear, ambitious vision
  • Engage with learners and community

Music Departments will often have a clear vision because we are constantly working towards concerts, events, musicals and coursework deadlines. We are also constantly engaging with learners both in and out of the classroom. This goes to for the local community where we might be supporting local events or charities. I think as Music Teachers we are leading and managing a huge amount.

But do you feel you do enough for your students & community in this area? Do you have a clear vision?

Just a few thoughts on Ofsted & Music Teaching and I will be sharing more thoughts on Intent in a future blog. Do follow my blog/subscribe as I will be blogging more on this topic next week.


    1. I will have a look at Deep Dives at some point – I haven’t been through one, but I have been compiling some information from other blogs. I will be blogging on this – but keep in mind that I haven’t been through the new framework! But it is good to think it all through. Watch this space.

Leave a Reply