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 and provides a process for evaluating the extent to which church schools are ‘distinctively and recognisably Christian institutions’ (Lord Dearing, The Way Ahead: Church of England Schools in the New Millenium, 2001).
Purpose and focus of SIAMS inspections
The Church of England has set out a bold 2016 Church of England Vision for Education that is deeply Christian, serving the common good. Our purpose in education is to enable the children, young people and communities we serve to flourish as they experience education for wisdom, hope, community and dignity and discover life in all its fullness which Jesus offers.
This national vision is offered for Anglican and Methodist schools to engage with as they articulate their purpose in education and shape their own vision as a school with Christian character.
Over the years, SIAMS has sought to provide Church schools with a tool for effective self-evaluation and a process of external review which enables continued development. This new framework focuses unashamedly on vision, with the hope that it will allow governing bodies to place more of an emphasis on their purpose in education, ensuring that the school’s Christian vision impacts in ways which enable the whole school community to flourish.
Inspectors will grade the school on the following 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 question is explored through the following seven strands:
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
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. 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.