Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools – SIAMS
All Church of England schools and academies undergo an inspection coordinated by each diocese in addition to Ofsted (Section 5/8) inspections under Section 48 of the 2005 Education Act.
The purpose of SIAMS is to evaluate how effective the school is as a church school in terms of meeting the needs of learners. These needs include well-being, personal development, safeguarding and academic progress.
Leadership, management and governance are evaluated from the perspective of the school being a Church of England school.
Religious education is assessed in both Voluntary Controlled and Voluntary Aided schools. In VA schools, however, a separate judgement and paragraph form part of the full report. VC schools may request this paragraph in a SIAMS inspection.
In 2013 the SIAMS inspection schedule was reissued to reflect Methodist schools. It has four core questions and makes judgements using outstanding/good/satisfactory/inadequate as grade descriptors
In this schedule considerable focus is given on how the school meets the needs of all learners, particularly the more vulnerable, in academic subjects and personal development. How collective worship meets the needs of all members (adults and children) of the school community is a second ‘core question’ judged.
RE (in VA schools) and leadership are also assessed.
Schools receive a written report which summarizes the inspection findings and gives areas to improve.
These reports are available on the Church of England website and should be made available to all families connected with the school.
Grades are awarded for overall effectiveness as a church school, how the school meets learners’ needs, the impact of collective worship and the leadership of the school as an explicitly Christian learning environment.
Schools are expected to conduct self-evaluation as a church school and the main focus for the SIAMS inspection is to verify the school’s own evaluations and grades.
SIAMS takes place every 5 years for schools awarded Outstanding/Good.
Those schools with less than good (satisfactory/inadequate) overall judgments will be inspected every 2-3 years.
Church of England Schools which convert to academies retain their VC/VA status for the purpose of inspection. A new church school will be inspected as a VA.
Diocesan Boards of Education (DBEs) are required to monitor the Christian character and the academic standards of their schools.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the Department for Education and the Church of England Education Office makes it clear that where a DBE has concerns about the Christian character of a church school in a Multi-academy trust, the DBE has the authority to remove the school and place it in a new trust.
Academies and federated schools should be aware that the expectation is that the Christian character, collective worship, RE and leadership are evaluated and actions taken to ensure these remain strong.
In the Diocese of Hereford, Allyson Taylor is the SIAMS manager. She coordinates the inspection process and leads a team of SIAMS inspectors.
Link to the SIAMS schedule
For the Self-evaluation documents click here