The National SIAMS team has written to Diocesan Directors of Education today to inform them of the decision, which aims to free up resources for schools in dealing with mitigations for the ongoing pandemic and also to avoid additional personnel being present which could add to transmission risk for all concerned.
The course of action will remain in effect until at least the week commencing 31 January. Once inspections resume, schools will receive one week’s notice of their inspection as per the normal notification policy.
The Church of England’s Chief Education Officer, Nigel Genders, said:
“Our priority is for schools to be open and for children to be taught face to face for the sake of their mental health and wellbeing.
“While SIAMS is a key part of setting and maintaining the high standards of wellbeing and Christian distinctiveness in our schools, this temporary suspension recognises the additional workload currently created by Covid-19, and is to give schools additional space to focus on the priority of keeping schools open.”
SIAMS inspections take place for Church of England and Methodist schools approximately every five years in addition to Ofsted inspections. The SIAMS process looks specifically at the school’s distinctive Christian vision, how it is established and promoted, and how it enables pupils and adults to flourish.
In the letter, National Director of SIAMS, Dr Margaret James, thanks schools and dioceses for their understanding amid continued uncertainties caused by Covid-19, promising to provide updates when possible.