NICOLE PONSFORD & Emma Turner 2019

Ofsted’s new focus on a ‘deep dive’ into the curriculum provides the perfect opportunity us evaluate - and identify - current and future approaches to taught content and wider curriculum opportunities - like ‘Gender’ and ‘Equality’.

The three things that Ofsted will look for are:




Intent is quite simply everything you plan to do up until the point of teaching. This includes any planning discussions and any associated planning paperwork. 

Ofsted have already brought out a mythbusting document which explains very clearly that there is no need to write elaborate statements of curriculum intent. 

Intent is simply what is intended to be taught and learnt. Being able to articulate your curriculum choices and the thinking that got you to your final decisions is good practice so a well thought through and strategic curriculum which teaches content in a sequential and meaningful way should be part of your curriculum design conversation. 

With planning for learning around gender and equality in mind when planning your curriculum, it is worth revisiting the work of curriculum design experts such as Claire Sealy, Mary Myatt and Andrew Percival who outline the principles of high quality curriculum thinking and construction. 

We have brought together a guide to help you design a gender equal curriculum - written by our education experts, including school headteachers and teachers. 

Please feel free to choose which elements best suit your setting - and please let us know what influence this has on your staff and learners. You can do this via our Twitter feed or email office@thegec.org. We are keen to improve and personalise our resources for teachers and educators so this will help us in creating better materials for you in the future. 

Ultimately the aim is to improve the outcomes for your girls and boys. 

We know you can change the world - so let’s get started!

Emma Turner and Nicole Ponsford

The GEC: Education


Curriculum: First Things First - Outcomes

Knowing where you want your curriculum to go is very important. 

Avoiding atomised teaching experiences which don’t link is key. There is a need for a shared and well understood intended outcomes, not only for the end of each key stage, but for all staff within the school, including classroom support staff and non-classroom based staff. 

Knowing the goal / destination, ensuring everyone is clear and motivated to help get there, will help to ensure positive outcomes.  

Some questions to help start the discussion are outlined below: 

Is there a whole school agreement / goal for developing positive attitudes and challenging stereotypes? 

  • What might this look like?

  • What might a child say / do / believe as a result of this shared vision? 

  • What might a staff member say / do / believe as a result of this shared vision? 

  • How does the taught and expressed curriculum reflect a journey towards this agreement?

  • How does it build systematically in each year group? Where are the links between previous and future learning?

How is the curriculum personalised / adapted for the school’s particular demographic?

  • Are there any cultural and socio-economic factors which might influence attitudes towards gender? 

  • How does the curriculum reflect any need to celebrate or continue in #SmashingStereotypes these influences?

  • How can this go on to build strength within the community and enhance links with the community and the school?

How does the curriculum draw on local examples of best practice or #SmashingStereotypes from the community? 

  • Are community groups actively #SmashingStereotypes or are examples of individuals woven into the curriculum to embed it in the young people’s experiences?

  • Are examples used in school relevant to the children’s own communities, cultures, faiths and heritage? 

  • Is there sufficient diversity (in the examples used) evident in every year group / class as well, as within whole school sessions - such as assemblies?



  • How are Assemblies used as a vehicle for developing positive attitudes and challenging bias?

  • Is there a strategic assembly plan woven into the wider assemblies within the school year?

Individuals in the Curriculum

This is a great opportunity for you to evaluate and revisit your current curriculum where individuals are studied.

This could include:

  • Core texts and class reading books - main characters and their associated character traits

  • Key historical figures - who is studied and which ‘field’ do they represent? This can be cross referenced with Science, Geography, History and PSHE

  • Taught Literacy Units which  focus on characters eg narrative, autobiography, biography. 

  • Film and media studies

Curriculum Data

Is there sufficient analysis given to any diversity across gender - alongside socio-economics, race, religion and culture - in children's outcomes in hard data when it comes to the curriculum? 

  • Are gender gaps/ balance investigated in terms of root cause or has more intervention simply been overlaid?

  • If there is a gender gap, what has already been trialled and evaluated?

What was learnt from any analysis and has this research been used to inform decision-making?


Extra Curricular Activities

What does uptake in extracurricular activities look like in your setting?

  • Has this been analysed by gender?

  • Could you use analysis to ensure there is no future potential multiple bias - for example with football clubs, technology clubs, dance or gymnastics?

  • This can be repeated with student leadership opportunities like sports leaders, librarians, club/ class monitors? 

  • What is the uptake like for your in-school and outside of school clubs (onsite and off) such as arts versus technology, cookery versus contact sports? 

Do the figures change as a child moves through your school? 


Community and the Curriculum

When you plan and hold school parental / family / community open events is gender equality considered? For example, parents’ mornings, open days, PTA meetings.

  • What activities are on offer? 

  • What is there to support parents with young children or dependents? Are events inclusive for those who may require a creche or childcare?

  • Are there opportunities to get #SmashingStereotypes?

  • Have student surveys been carried out looking at people’s attitudes towards their own leadership skills and self-confidence?

  • Are these tracked as children move through the school?

  • What action is taken on this?

Are there specific events held to challenge stereotypes and bias?

  • What are these?

  • How do we know that the findings will result in an impact and inform practice and how effective are they?

If you work in a  single-gender staff (common in primary schools, or certain departments or age-phases) how are regular role models integrated into school life?

  • What do the children see them doing?

Language and the Curriculum

Do children have opportunities to engage in structured debate from a young age? 

Are they able to enquire and investigate (with support) illustrating assertiveness and offered opportunities for robust debate?

Are children taught the negative connotations of language choice? For example “bossy”, “man up”, “stop being fussy”?

Are staff aware of these?

Is there a school-wide agreement to phrase more positively? You might find the GEC Guide to Gendered Language of use here. 


Reading and the Curriculum

How does your school support reading through lessons, the library, playtimes, clubs to promote diversity and #SmashingStereotypes - with a broad and balanced offer? 

You might like to access our GECBestBooks2019 list here to help audit your library and/ore reading resources. This is still open so please let us know if you, your staff, students or families have further suggestions.

FREEBIE: Just because we love sharing the GEC love SO MUCH, we have also just created a series of FREE resources to accompany our GECBestBooks list - with classroom and/or home activities to get your #SmashingStereotypes.

These include ‘My Princess Boy’ by Cheryl Kilodavis, ‘Pearl Power’ by Mel Elliott, and The Boy Who Lost his Bumble by Trudi Esberger.


If you would like a FREE PDF download of this, please click here.

Want more? Check out our GEC Resources for Adults here

Want to say thanks?… see below!

Ways to get more involved with the GEC: Education


We are also looking for settings to tell us know about the great work you are ALREADY doing #SmashingStereotypes -

this is to celebrate your work and help others do the same.


In the meantime, we welcome you to join our collective, sign up for our free GEC Charter (individuals or setting)

and help us to work together in #SmashingStereotypes.


We are currently working hard on our online GEC mark for educational settings. This will allow all educational settings to self-assess their standards against our national benchmark, access evidence-based resources to support you to close the gaps, engagement surveys for your staff, students & communityand ultimately your GEC Mark (bronze, silver or gold). The GEC Mark will be opened up to early years settings, primary, secondary, post-16 and HE.

The GEC Mark will be open for all: whole institutions to sole childminders.

We believe that we all need to work together on this to release the potential of all students in our educational settings - and hope you will join us in doing this.

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