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Church School Inspection (SIAMS)

Church School Inspection (SIAMS)

Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools

All Church of England schools receive a Section 48 Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) as well as the regular Section 5 Ofsted inspection.

A SIAMS inspection focuses on the impact of the Church school’s Christian vision on pupils and adults. This involves looking at the school’s Christian vision, the provision the school makes because of this vision and, crucially, how effective this provision is in enabling all pupils to flourish. Church schools will employ a variety of strategies and styles appropriate to, and reflective of, their particular context to be distinctively and effectively Christian in their character and ethos. SIAMS inspectors do not look for a set template of what a Church school should be like but instead take the particular context of the school into account and base their evaluation on the outcomes, rather than the process.

The Evaluation Schedule has one inspection question: how effective is the school’s distinctive Christian vision, established and promoted by leadership at all levels, in enabling pupils and adults to flourish?

This is evaluated through seven strands:

  • Vision and Leadership
  • Wisdom, Knowledge and Skills
  • Character Development: Hope, Aspiration and Courageous Advocacy
  • Community and Living Well Together
  • Dignity and Respect
  • Impact of Collective Worship
  • Effectiveness of Religious Education

One overall grade is awarded reflecting the contribution of these strands to the flourishing of pupils and adults in the school. In addition, a standalone grade is awarded in all schools for collective worship and in Voluntary Aided (VA) schools (and former VA schools) a separate grade is awarded for Religious Education (RE).

Schools are inspected on a five year cycle. Click here for a link to all associated documents and forms.

Training and Support

As a minimum, advisors from the Diocesan Education Team aim to visit all schools at least two terms prior to a scheduled SIAMS inspection, and two years following, specifically to discuss progress against the inspection framework.

We offer INSET and staff meeting training on for staff and governors on preparing for SIAMS inspections; all training is free of charge.

The following information should be read in conjunction with the ‘Evaluation Schedule for SIAMS’ which outlines new requirements introduced in September 2018.

Scheduling of Inspections

  • SIAMS inspections no longer follow an Ofsted inspection as in the past. Schools and Academies are identified based upon the date of the last SIAMS inspection. For schools judged as good or outstanding at their last SIAMS inspection, the next SIAMS will fall in the fifth school year following the previous inspection (e.g. a school inspected in 2018-19should expect to be inspected again in the academic year 2022-23). It is important to note that the inspection could be undertaken at any time in that year. If a school was judged as less than good, their next inspection can take place any time after 3 years from the date of the last inspection.
  • In the case of academies, the diocese will ascertain the status of the academy based upon the funding agreement (or other statement of character) and inform the inspector. This will determine the scope of the inspection, particularly in relation to RE.
  • Inspectors appointed are on the list of accredited inspectors of the Church of England Education Office. In accordance with the Church of England Education Office protocol, inspectors appointed to conduct SIAMS inspections must have had no contact with the school which might compromise their objectivity in inspecting in accordance with the SIAMS framework.

Prior to the Inspection

  • The inspector is notified by the diocese of the name of the school he/she will inspect.
  • The Church of England Education Office will contact the school and inform the headteacher of the date of the inspection and arrange for the inspector to telephone the school later the same day or the following day.
  • The telephone consultation between the headteacher and the inspector will focus on inspection arrangements and gives a chance for the inspector to gather information about the school. The inspector will request a summary of the school’s self-evaluation and other documents which should be sent to the inspector by the following day in order to give him/her time to study and use this to plan the inspection. The inspector will also access information through the school website.
  • The inspector completes the SIAMS Pre Inspection Plan (PIP), setting out hypotheses drawn from the school’s self-evaluation and identifying the ‘trails’ that will be followed during the inspection. This is sent to the headteacher 24 hours before the inspection to give time for the headteacher to consider the inspector’s lines of enquiry. Inspectors will request an acknowledgement of receipt of the PIP, indicating the school’s understanding of the likely focus.
  • In the first phone call, the inspector agrees an outline of the day of inspection activities with the school including the people to be interviewed (e.g. the head teacher, the chair and governors, the incumbent, co-ordinators of RE and collective worship, groups of pupils and parents) and how this is to be organised. Arrangements will need to contain some flexibility to allow the inspector to accommodate changing emphases as information arises during the day.
  • The inspector sends the school the contract for agreement and signature by the Chair of Governors/ nominated governor and the inspector. (The school should keep a copy and return the signed original to the inspector).
  • On the day of inspection, the inspector should wear his/her SIAMS Inspector badge displaying his/her inspector number.

The Inspection

  • The inspection takes place on the date specified by the inspector. This will be for one day for Primary schools and one or two days for Secondary schools.
  • At the close of the inspection a brief verbal feedback on the provisional findings and the judgements is given confidentially to the headteacher who may invite the governors and other senior leaders to attend.
  • The final report will be sent by the inspector to the school following factual checking and after he has undergone the critical reader process. This is the point at which the report may be made public.