School trips are an important and beneficial part of primary education, and can be motivating, constructive experiences that enhance learning as well as personal development. Curriculum-relevant school trips are especially important as they fundamentally add to depth of learning and understanding of subject matter. They also improve core skills.
Curriculum-relevant school trips are increasingly important for primary
Ofsted recently announced a renewed focus on curriculum design. Amanda Spielman, Chief Inspector of Ofsted, said that “Too many teachers and leaders have not been trained to think deeply about what they want their pupils to learn and how they are going to teach it. We saw curriculum narrowing.”
This follows some Ofsted research among more than 40 schools in early 2018. This research concluded that there is too much emphasis on teaching to test, leaving little time and energy to think about how pupils should progress through the curriculum. Amanda Spielman also said what many teachers have been saying for a long time, “For our part, it is clear that as an inspectorate we have not placed enough emphasis on the curriculum…our inspections have looked hardest at outcomes, placing too much weight on test and exam results when we consider the overall effectiveness of schools. This has increased the pressure on school leaders, teachers and pupils alike to deliver test scores above all else.”
What the Ofsted research means for curriculum-relevant school trips
Starting in September 2019, Ofsted will inspect schools under a new framework. This framework will give “more emphasis than the current one on the substance of education: the curriculum.”
While details of the framework are yet to be confirmed, we do know that the curriculum will have more of a central focus than exam results. Exam results will still be an important snapshot of a school’s effectiveness, but teaching a rich curriculum will come to the fore.
The change in the Ofsted framework should give schools a renewed focus on learning outside the classroom, giving pupils direct experience rather than theoretical, classroom-based learning. In short, it will serve to enrich the curriculum that pupils are learning.
Give pupils experiences which help them realise their full potential
Motivate and engage pupils who are less suited to classroom-based learning
Raise standards when you’re back in the classroom
Improve social, personal and emotional development
Equip pupils with skills they’ll need in the future
At their core, curriculum-relevant school trips provide a strong all-round learning experience for primary pupils, developing both knowledge and skills. This is what we want to provide for our pupils, and thankfully these long-needed changes from Ofsted should help. As Amanda Spielman said,
“In the long run, a renewed focus on curriculum should reverse the current incentives that come from inspection being quite so focused on outcomes.”
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