School children in an assembly School children in an assembly

The SIAMS Process

Scheduling

Schools judged to be good or outstanding will usually be inspected within 5 years.

Schools judged to require improvement or inadequate in their SIAMS inspection will usually be inspected after 3 years.

Schools that have converted to academy status continue to be inspected on the same cycle - based on the gradings of its most recent SIAMS inspection.

New academies or free school schools which have a religious (Anglican) character, i.e. where it is a brand new institution where no previous Church of England school existed or where a community school converts to a Church of England Academy, will be inspected after 3 years from the date of opening. Thereafter the time of inspections will fall in line with the general guidance above.

A SIAMS inspection is not linked in any way to a school’s OfSTED inspection timing or grading. This means that SIAMS inspections are scheduled independently of OfSTED section 5 inspections.

In the event of a no-notice OfSTED inspection where a SIAMS inspection is already scheduled it has been agreed with OfSTED that the two may be conducted simultaneously.  However, both the OfSTED inspection team and the SIAMS inspector must avoid over inspection of any particular teachers.  Feedback from both inspections must take place at the same meeting.

It is for the Diocese to schedule the inspection date. Once notification of an inspection has been given the inspection will take place within 5 working days.

Notification of Inspection

A list of schools to be inspected for the next academic year is sent to the Church of England Education Office around April of the preceding academic year. Schools are selected for inspection on the basis of scheduling as outlined on the Church school inspection scheduling - see Section 4 of the Church of England SIAMS handbook. Around May/June the pending inspections are confirmed by the Church of England Education Office/and the Department of Education (DfE). The SIAMS Manager allocates an accredited denominational inspector to each school to be inspected but the inspector does not know the name of the school until shortly before the school is notified.

The school receives a phone call from the SIAMS Manager or a member of the Chelmsford diocesan team usually 5 working days before the inspection is scheduled. This phone call informs the school of the forthcoming inspection and of the name of the inspector. If the executive headteacher/headteacher is not available the person who is in charge of the school on that day will be contacted so that notification is not delayed. A follow-up email will be sent confirming details. The notice period is no more than 5 working days.

Notification Thursday. Exchanging documentation on Friday. PIP sent to school on Wednesday. Inspection following Thursday.

The inspector will contact the school shortly after notification (the same or next day). There will be an initial telephone conversation to discuss with the headteacher, or if they are not available the person in charge of the school, key aspects of the inspection process and request any documentation. The documentation should be provided for the inspection within 24 hours of this discussion.

Adjustment or Deferral of a SIAMS inspection

Adjustment = change the date of an inspection within the same school term.

Defer = alter the date of an inspection to the next school term.

There is strict guidance as to when and if it is possible to adjust or defer a SIAMS inspection because of exceptional circumstances. This comes from the Church of England Education Office (National Society) in agreement with the Department for Education. If a deferral is granted the SIAMS inspection must take place within six working weeks of the original date.

If the headteacher of a school about to be inspected believes that their school may be granted a deferral under ‘exceptional circumstances’ they should speak urgently with the SIAMS manager.

The Appeals and Complaints Procedure

An appeal against the Inspection Report

Any appeal against an inspection report should be taken up by the school with the inspector concerned. If agreement cannot be found then the school should contact the SIAMS Manager, Graham Lancaster, by email who will discuss the case with the Diocesan Director of Education if he can't resolve it. If the complaint cannot be resolved at this stage then it will be referred to the Church of England Education Office for arbitration. If the arbitration is not successful then the final decision lays with the Church of England Education Office.

There are 3 possible outcomes for any appeal regarding an inspection report:

  1. The original findings of the inspection are upheld.
  2. The original findings of the inspection are over-ruled and changed, but please note, not necessarily in the school’s favour.
  3. The Church of England Education Office deems that the school needs to be re-inspected.

A complaint against an Inspector

If a school has a complaint against or concern about the conduct of an inspector the headteacher should inform the SIAMS manager, Graham Lancaster, by email immediately. He will discuss the concern with those involved and report to the Director of Education his findings. The complaint may be escalated to the central Church of England education team.

There are a number of possible outcomes regarding any complaint regarding an inspection. For example, the complaint is not upheld so no further action required. It is partially upheld - the inspector may be asked to review/change practice – they may be asked to go through some re-training. The complaint is upheld – depending on the severity of the complaint the inspector may be stopped from conducting any further inspections, may go through a period of retraining, have to complete an inspection or inspections under the guidance of another inspector.

View the handbook on the Church of England website. Please refer to Appendix G for information outlining the appeals and complaints procedure in full.