Deep dives are intended to give Ofsted insight into how subjects are taught and are now a key tool for inspectors. But how well can pupils contribute to the discussion? Suzanne O'Connell spoke to one school about its recent experience...

What are you learning? Most people would agree that this is a valuable question to ask pupils as part of an Ofsted inspection.

But what about asking pupils to name a river they studied last year, or to explain how knowledge previously learnt is helping during their current lessons?

The ability to articulate their learning is not easy for some pupils and anecdotal reports abound of children struggling to answer inspectors’ deep dive questions with grim consequences for the schools involved.

Deep dives involve discussions with subject leaders, work scrutiny of books, and discussions with teachers as well as a group of pupils.

In primary schools, inspectors will always carry out a deep dive in reading and deep dives in one or more foundation subjects, always including a foundation subject that is being taught in the school during the time that inspectors are on-site. In addition, inspectors will often carry out a deep dive in mathematics (Ofsted, 2019).

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting Headteacher Update and reading some of our content for professionals in primary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcasts

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday


Already have an account? Sign in here