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NACE Quality of Education Curriculum Audit Tool: Q&A

Posted By NACE, 06 February 2020
Curriculum review and development is high on the agenda for all schools. The new Ofsted and ISI inspection frameworks and the new Curriculum for Wales emphasise the importance of an ambitious curriculum vision with sufficient breadth and depth to meet the needs of all learners at all phases, including the most able.
Against this backdrop, the NACE Quality of Education Curriculum Audit Tool© has been developed to support whole-school curriculum review with a focus on provision for more able learners.
Read on to learn more about how the tool could support your school.

What can the NACE Curriculum Audit Tool be used for?   

The NACE Curriculum Audit Tool can be used for a variety of purposes. Use of the tool gives a sharp focus on curriculum provision for more able learners in a school’s care. Importantly, it helps school leaders to reflect on the performance of the more able, gauge curriculum strengths and identify areas for development.

How can the tool help to improve more provision in my school?

The tool helps schools to methodically and systematically reflect on the performance of and provision for more able learners. It allows schools to gauge where strengths lie and to identify areas in need of further development for this specific group of learners.

How can the tool help schools focusing on curriculum development?

The Audit Tool will support schools in developing their vision and principles for curriculum design, providing useful prompters and criteria for schools exploring key questions such as “What should we teach and why?”

How can the tool help schools in Wales focusing on curriculum reform?

The Welsh version of the audit tool has been specifically designed and structured to evaluate present curriculum strategy and provision, with flexibility and adaptability for schools to use it to move in line with education innovation and reform.  

How will the tool complement other self-evaluation methods used by schools in Wales?

Self-evaluation is at the heart of the Welsh school improvement journey and effective schools systematically use robust self-evaluation to progress. In inspection reports, Estyn often cites weaknesses in the challenge that schools provide for more able learners.  
The Audit Tool provides schools with an objective starting point and structure through which to review, challenge, test and develop curriculum. In this way it involves all the school. It allows an in-depth examination of the component parts of a school which make up the whole.
It is specifically designed to sharply focus on the evaluation of curriculum provision in order to judge whether this meets the needs of more able learners and to signpost the way forward. It is not intended to replace other self-evaluation processes and procedures employed by the school, but to supplement and enhance them whilst at the same time avoiding unnecessary overlap.    

Who would use the Audit Tool to carry out self-evaluation?

Evaluations may be carried out by all school stakeholders. Leaders and middle managers would use the tool to make judgements on current provision and performance, overall or focusing on a particular subject/phase. Outcomes can be used strategically to identify school priorities in order to meet the needs of more able learners. Teachers and support staff can use the tool to help judge the effectiveness of curriculum provision and the parameter of learner capabilities. It will help to evaluate more able pupils’ learning to date, and to identify next steps of learning.

What benefits will teachers and support staff gain from using the Audit Tool?

Given the chance to evaluate the curriculum they provide for more able learners, teachers and support staff are more likely to self-reflect on their own performance and become more responsible and accountable for the teaching and learning experiences they provide. When staff can see that the outcomes of their self-evaluation are being taken seriously and acted on by senior leaders, it can prove to be a motivating experience which consolidates trust and confidence across the whole school community.   

Can learners participate in the curriculum audit process?

Self-evaluation is always at its most effective when all stakeholders are fully involved. Changing learners’ roles from passive observers to active participants and valued contributors has the greatest impact on engagement. In best practice, learners are routinely encouraged to self-evaluate.  
Effective self-evaluation offers opportunities for learners to look at themselves, reflect on how they best learn, acquaint themselves with the unknown, be guided on to new learning and to develop as ambitious, capable learners. Becoming part of the decision-making process makes it more likely for those involved to fully engage in the decisions that are made. Learner voice is a powerful force and often we can learn as much from children and young people as they learn from us.
To find out more and to access the NACE Quality of Education Curriculum Audit Tool, click here.

Tags:  curriculum  school improvement  self-evaluation  student voice 

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