CPD General GCSE A-Level Key Stage 3

Deep Dives

Deep Dives are now part of the new Ofsted framework. What would happen if an Ofsted Inspector took a Deep Dive in your department?


I want to start by saying that I am not an expert in this area and I haven’t experienced a Deep Dive. This is merely a collection of my thoughts and research form other blogs. It is clear that there are some common questions that are popping up and they are a good starting point for our thinking.

What is a Deep Dive?

Deep Dives are part of the new Ofsted Framework and it looks like inspectors will select 6 subjects to scrutinise. It is clear that this will fall on Middle Leaders and they will spend an hour with an inspector. Preparing for Deep Dives is going to be crucial for us as Music Teachers. It is helpful to consider the kind of questions that might be asked in a Deep Dive.

Questions in a Deep Dive

These questions have been gather from various places and I can only apologise for not being able to credit the sources. But I guess these are the kind of questions that a Deep Dive might explore:

  • Why you are pleased with your curriculum? 
  • Can you tell me why you chose this work for pupils to do? 
  • What is the purpose of this assessment?
  • How do you cater for SEND?
  • Are there aspects of your curriculum that you are disappointed with?
  • How do you ensure all staff are covering the curriculum?
  • What difference do you feel your curriculum is making?
  • How do you ensure children make progress?
  • Is the curriculum being delivered appropriately by all staff?
  • How do you assess & monitor children’s progress?
  • How are gaps in learning addressed?

Initial Thoughts on Deep Dives

Some of the questions above are quite daunting when you first look at them. How much do we really know about our subject area? Assessment in music is often quite varied and tasks given can depend on so many factors.

A Deep Dive also sounds like it will be quite intense. I therefore don’t want to ignore it and I want to keep formulating my answers over the coming weeks. I quite like having that as a goal because that way I can prepare and hopefully it will benefit the students.

This year our carousel in Year 9 has meant that music staff are talking more. Keeping in touch about what has been learnt and what they need to do next is quite good. It means that I know what is being taught and how much progress is being made.

There is a clearly a big focus on the curriculum and I quite like this as a focus. It is nice to feel positive about what we teach and this new framework doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. My new curriculum for Key Stage 3 is quite pleasing! So that is one question I will know how to answer.

How to focus on Curriculum

The first thing you might like to do is really look at your curriculum. If you Deep Dive into what you actually teach you quickly start to get an idea of the quality, breadth, weaknesses and strengths.

Today I spoke with Year 9 about why we actually compose. Why is it that we are going to spend the next few lessons creating a piece of music? Not only did this give them some of my intentions behind the work, but it revealed to me the quality of such a task.

The sequence of learning in a curriculum is also quite an interesting thing to consider. Well planned curriculums mean that topics link forward and back. The progression through the curriculum needs to make sense to all teachers & all students. I sometimes wonder if I do link topics, schemes and lessons together effectively.

So there are some thoughts, but I will continue to Dive Deeper into this area as I think there is still a lot to learn. I just want to be a Music Teacher that is ready for Ofsted

1 comment

  1. Thank you…..as you say lots to celebrate. I’m a Primary pusic specialist, but your thoughts are equally relevant to teachers in the Primary sector.

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