All Church of England dioceses and the Methodist Church 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. The SIAMS Evaluation Schedule sets out the expectations for the conduct of the Statutory Inspection of Anglican, Methodist and ecumenical Schools under Section 48 of the Education Act 2005.
Purpose and focus of SIAMS inspections
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 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 in order to be distinctively and effectively Christian in their character and ethos. SIAMS inspectors therefore do not look for a set template of what a Church school should be like, but rather 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 explored 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
- The impact of collective worship
- The effectiveness of religious education
One overall grade is awarded reflecting the contribution of these strands to the flourishing of pupils and adults in a Church school. In addition a standalone grade is awarded in all schools for collective worship and in voluntary aided (VA) schools and former VA schools for religious education (RE). This grade is based on teaching and learning alone.
The Church of England runs annual New Inspector Training to train individuals to become accredited SIAMS inspectors. The New Inspector Training course is a rigorous and demanding assessed training programme consisting of the following elements:
- Four taught days
- RE lesson observation
- Two shadow SIAMS inspections with an accredited inspector
- Preparatory reading tasks
- Written tasks
- Sign-off inspection
Assessment is through written tasks based on the shadow inspection and sign-off inspection; skills are evaluated against the Church of England Education Office criteria. New inspectors must demonstrate their competence to undertake effective inspections. All accredited SIAMS inspectors are required to have current (within the last three years) DBS certification and professional indemnity insurance.
The below criteria are considered essential for acceptance onto the course and applicants are unlikely to successfully complete the training if they do not have the following experience, knowledge and skills:
- Current or recent experience of leadership at a senior level in successful Church schools and a sound understanding of school leadership and management. (If this experience includes leadership in a school judged inadequate by Ofsted, this should be discussed with the diocesan SIAMS manager prior to making an application.)
- A clear understanding of the phases of education (in order to be able to inspect primary, secondary and all-through schools).
- An understanding of the Christian character of Church schools.
- An up-to-date knowledge of:
- The Christian character of church schools
- The requirements for religious education and collective worship in Church schools;
- Performance data in schools
- Recent national developments in Church school policy and practice
- The Church of England Vision for Education
- Sympathy with the aims of church schools and a sound understanding of the Christian faith.
- Excellent inter-personal skills and oral communication skills in order to effectively interact with both adults and children.
- Excellent analytical and evaluative skills to process information, consider evidence and make sound judgements.
- Excellent written communication skills, a good command of the English language and the ability to write in an engaging and interesting way.
- Self-organisation skills and the ability to follow protocols and procedures.
- Competency in IT- confidence in using Microsoft Office, including converting documents to PDFs and formatting documents. Must be able to print documents to use during inspections.
SIAMS Inspectors are expected to:
- Be able to carry out at least three inspections per year (This is the minimum number of inspections deemed vital for the development and maintenance of inspection skills)
- Be willing to travel in order to carry out inspections
- Have up to date DBS clearance.
There are currently no planned critical reader training days.
The national ongoing training for current inspectors is an annual compulsory training day that all accredited SIAMS inspectors must attend in order to remain registered as an inspector.
Main administrative and pastoral area in the Church of England – often roughly coincides with local county boundaries. There are 42 dioceses.