Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools
All Church of England dioceses use the Church of England Education Office's framework for the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) under Section 48 of the Education Act 2005. This framework sets out the expectations for the conduct of these inspections. From September 2018, the revised SIAMS schedule will be used.
The Lincoln Diocesan Board of Education values the Section 48 Inspection process as a means of helping schools to develop both their Church school distinctiveness, effectiveness and sustainability set within their unique Christian Vision. The inspection process is based on the Church of England Education Office's Evaluation Schedule 2018, which can be found below.
The Schedule provides a process for evaluating the overall inspection question for all Church schools:
"How effective is the school’s Christian vision, established and promoted by leadership at all levels, in enabling pupils and adults to flourish?"
Section 48 reports are published on the Church of England website.
SIAMS inspection plays an important role in the improvement of Church schools. It does this by affirming that which is effective and by highlighting key areas for improvement. By focusing on impact above all else, SIAMS explores ways in which each school’s theologically rooted Christian vision drives the work, and enables the school to live up to its foundation as a Church school.
Church schools come in all different shapes and sizes, and a one size fits all approach to inspection does not allow a school to have integrity in its Christian-vision-driven work. Therefore, the 2023 SIAMS Framework does not present schools with lists of criteria to meet. Instead, it asks a number of Inspection Questions about impact, and it allows leaders to explain the school’s context and the reasons for decisions and actions. In all things, the contextually-appropriate theologically rooted Christian vision is the driving force.
SIAMS inspectors will explore with school and trust leaders how they understand the specific context of the school, and whether they know how to respond to it theologically. Local, diocesan, and national expertise will help school and trust leaders to explore this, so that they can be confident in answering three key questions:
1. Who are we as a school?
2. What are we doing here?
3. How, then, shall we live and learn together?
Importantly, the 2023 SIAMS Framework highlights and seeks understanding of the theology that underpins a school’s Christian vision. It also provides a structure for inspectors and school and trust leaders to, collaboratively, gather evidence of how this vision enables people to flourish. Using this evidence, inspectors then make judgements, holding school and trust leaders to account.
SIAMS, rightly, sets a high bar for each school to live up to its foundation as a Church school through its theologically rooted Christian vision, and it provides affirmation, aspiration, and areas for development for school leaders.
Further information can be found at: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/education-and-schools/church-schools-and-academies/siams-school-inspections
and from Paul Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Diocesan Director of Education - Paul is the SIAMS Manager for the Diocese.
Guidance on SIAMS self-evaluation has been updated.
Two templates are available that adhere to 2023-2024 guidance:
A few points of clarification and explanation are as follows.
- Previous advice suggested that schools should write one summary/reflection self-evaluation document from their longer ongoing self-evaluation to provide evidence of Good. They were then encouraged to write a second document to ‘make a case for Excellent’ if they believed that grade to be appropriate. This guidance has been changed.
- The National SIAMS team now advise that, from the information in their ongoing in-school self-evaluation, schools write one short, summary self-evaluation, that is aligned with the SIAMS criteria. This should provide an evidence-based evaluation of the impact of the school’s Christian vision. In doing this, it is suggested that schools use the language of the Schedule to help leaders to accurately indicate their evidence-based self-evaluation.
- Schools should not allocate any specific grades as part of their self-evaluation. The inspector will do that, based on their evaluation of the school’s evidence base. The school’s appropriate use of the language of the Schedule will help the inspector to make this evaluation. All inspection judgements must be evidence-based and that a school’s assertion of any grade will not be sufficient in and of itself.
If you have any questions about the SIAMS inspection process, please contact the national SIAMS helpdesk: SIAMS@churchofengland.org.
For all your training needs regarding SIAMS, please visit the diocesan professional development page here or e-mail our RE and SIAMS adviser, Gillian Georgiou, at email@example.com.