Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools
Church of England voluntary aided or voluntary controlled schools (or their equivalent) have their denominational inspection under Section 48 of the Schools’ Inspection Act. They are conducted independently of OfSTED by denominational inspectors trained through the Church of England Education Office. Denominational inspections are mainly on a five-year cycle but can (and do) take place earlier depending on circumstances.
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.
Section 48 inspection focuses on the impact the Christian vision of the Church school/academy has on the children and young people who attend it, and, the adults who work within it. The Church of England ‘Vision for Education’ states as its vision for SIAMS:
‘It is a matter of affirming what is of worth in the past and the present, rejecting courageously things that we judge unwise, and working to transform those that are valuable but need improvement.’
In shaping their vision, schools will have shown regard for the Church of England’s vision for education, “Deeply Christian, Serving The Common Good”, and the Lincoln diocesan vision for education, “Church Schools serving their communities through excellence, exploration and encouragement within the love of God.” Church schools will employ a variety of strategies and styles, which reflect their particular local context or church tradition in order realise their own, unique vision. Inspectors will, therefore, not be looking to apply a preconceived template of what a Church school should be like.
The principal objective therefore of the Section 48 inspection is to evaluate the school’s distinctiveness, effectiveness and sustainability set within its unique Christian Vision as a Church school.
Section 48 Inspections are carried out by accredited Church of England Education Office inspectors. Inspection usually involves an inspector spending one day in the school as well as considering external evidence, for example, academic outcomes, the school’s website and key policies.
The overall judgement is made through the inspection of Vision and Leadership (strand 1) plus six further strands in order to answer the one inspection question: "How effective is the school’s Christian vision, established and promoted by leadership at all levels, in enabling pupils and adults to flourish?"
- Strand 1: Vision and Leadership
- Strand 2: Wisdom, Knowledge and Skills
- Strand 3: Character Development (Hope, Aspiration and Courageous Advocacy)
- Strand 4: Community and Living Well Together
- Strand 5: Dignity and Respect
- Strand 6: The Impact of Collective Worship
- Strand 7: The Effectiveness of Religious Education
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 2022-2023 guidance:
From Sept 2023
Ongoing Self-Evaluation Template Sept 2023 onwards
Summary Self-Evaluation Template Sept 2023 onwards
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.