Best Practice

Ofsted subject review: A focus on science

Ofsted has begun publishing its series of subject reports, with science the first discipline under scrutiny. Suzanne O’Connell considers the report’s main messages (and warnings) for primary schools


Finding the optimum – Ofsted’s first subject report based on inspectors’ findings from deep dives carried out during school inspections – was published last term (Ofsted, 2023a).

Of course, this is not the first time that Ofsted has become involved in writing reports about the teaching of individual subjects. Previously, these were called thematic reports and schools were visited by inspectors specifically to investigate how the subject under question was being taught.

However, between 2021 and 2023, Ofsted has published 11 subject-themed “research reviews”, drawing upon the available evidence to “support and inform those leading the thinking on subject education in our schools” (Ofsted, 2021a).

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