OFSTED 2012 – Embedding RWCM

Embedding RWCM – Anthony Steed

OFSTED’s 2012 framework first published for implementation January 2012 and then later revised for implementation September 2012 builds upon many of the key components identified in previous Inspection Frameworks.

This post will focus on the main changes in the framework that will be used to judge the quality of teaching.

The new inspection framework for implementation in September 2012 is, in some regards, a case of ‘more of the same’ with respect to judging the quality of teaching. It builds upon many of the key elements contained in the 2009 framework and carried through to the January 2012 framework. Familiar points about the use of assessment, planning, subject knowledge, questioning and feedback are replicated from the frameworks of yore. The most significant difference I noticed when reading was that the points of consideration were fewer in number when compared with January 2012 (10 points down to 7). This appears to be an attempt to simplify  and streamline the framework in order to make its interpretation easier for teachers and to provide more focus to all in the teaching community. In this instance such changes should be welcomed.

So what has changed? Well actually, between January and September 2012, very little. The most significant changes took place between the 2009 and January 2012 frameworks. In the authors opinion, in addition to the familiar elements mentioned above, there are really two significant areas of change in 2012. The first of these is discussed below. The second point will be developed in a subsequent blog post.

The 2012 framework now contains the following line with respect to overall judgements about the quality of teaching.

  • reading, writing, communication and mathematics are well taught

The interpretation of this may seem straightforward to some and less so for others. The reality is that regardless of the subject taught this line of the framework will require some discussion simply because this expectation is cross-curricular. The expectation from OFSTED is that these core skills will be developed and well taught in all subjects – that is to say that Mathematics lessons will need to also develop reading and writing skills as well and English lessons making some provision to develop Mathematics skills.

This will require some prior planning on the part of subject teachers to ensure that, where possible, provision is made for these core skills. It may be worth approaching staff with a particular area of expertise to get help or advice on where core skills can be implemented and whether students are familiar with these skills beforehand. For instance, before asking students to calculate a percentage change it would be worthwhile checking they have covered this in their Maths lessons! It is also important to include any provision of these core skills into your lesson plans/schemes of work as evidence of a sustained and consistent approach.

As a non-specialist in either Mathematics or English I have taken some time to think about different approaches to these four areas. Below is a list of different generic strategies that could (in theory) be applied across all subject areas.

Tips for including core skills for non-specialists;


Ask students to identify key words before using search engines (reading)

Identify key vocabulary from a piece of text i.e. students make a list of what they think are key words from a text and discuss/compare (reading)

Ask students to use glossary to find what they need (reading)

Ask students to reference their work (reading)

Show evidence of prior planning by asking less able readers to read less challenging text and more able to read more challenging text (reading)

Ask students to find evidence from books/websites independently to back up an opinion (reading)

Asking students to read a piece of text out loud to the class (reading)

Use challenging vocabulary when explaining concepts and highlight to clarify understanding (reading)


Ask students to write about a topic using a ‘Six word story’ – this teaches them succinctness as well as encouraging them to identify the most pertinent information in a topic (writing)

Ask students to identify key words to be included before undertaking a piece of writing (writing)

Discuss writing strategies that could be employed i.e. how would we evaluate/analyse? (writing)

Model writing strategies for students i.e. write an example response to an examination questions and ask them to identify the evaluative paragraph (writing)

Provide writing frames where necessary showing evidence of planning for prior attainment (writing)

Use self and peer-assessment to enable students to reflect on their writing. Emphasise narrative, prose etc. – not just subject specific content! (writing)


Ask students to write a blog (communication)

Encourage students to take part in debate that are ordered (communication)

Show students examples of real world communication and ask them to evaluate/discuss their effectiveness/tone/purpose – as well as subject specific content (communication)

Use podcasts/videos as a way of delivering content  (communication)

Allow students to choose the ‘most appropriate’ method of presentation for their work (communication)

Ask students to make presentations (communication)

Ask students to consider the effectiveness of any PowerPoint presentations with respect to target audience (communication)


Highlight any mathematical key words and make provision to explain/question students understanding of these i.e. percentage, trend, volumes (mathematics)

Graphs to compare changes in data over time (mathematics)

Comparing different ways that data could be presented (mathematics)

Please feel free to add any further suggestions below.





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