The SIAMS Inspection Process


Scheduling of Inspections

The Church of England provided guidance on SIAMS inspections (September 2021)  which outlined the main points for schools to note regarding the scheduling of inspections. 

  • Schools that should have been inspected during the spring and summer of 2020 will be the first to be inspected following the reinstatement of inspections.  These inspections were likely to take place between October and Christmas 2021.
  • Until all schools have received their first SIAMS inspection in the ‘post-COVID’ suspension years, legislation requires that inspection will be carried out within eight years of the date of the previous inspection. Thereafter, scheduling will return to a five-year cycle.
  • SIAMS inspections will mostly take place between one and two years after the academic year in which they would have taken place before the COVID-related suspension.  There will, however, be some exemptions to this.
  • It will not be possible to calculate the academic year of a school’s next SIAMS inspection.  Instead, there will be a list published during the summer term each year of schools that are expected to have their SIAMS inspection during the following academic year.  This will take place for the duration of the first cycle of inspections following the resumption of inspections. Please click here for the list of schools likely to be inspected in 2023-24 (see page 12 for church schools in our Diocese).
  • As well as information regarding scheduling of inspections, a revised version of the SIAMS inspection schedule has been published.  The revised SIAMS inspection schedule includes amendments that concern: Data, RE, COVID-19 and ‘Excellence’.

SIAMS will develop from September 2023. For further information, please click here.

Christian Vision

The Christian Vision and the impact of the vision remain central to the inspection as specified in the revised inspection schedule.


It is not currently possible to make any judgements about schools based upon performance data.  Instead, SIAMS will ask questions about how the school’s Christian vision underpins decisions re curriculum and assessment and how the positive impact of these decisions affects the flourishing of children and young people through their learning and development.  ‘Flourishing’ relates to the ‘whole child’ not simply their academic achievement.


Amendments to RE relate to VA and former VA schools only.  The emphasis during inspection will be on:

  • the curriculum;
  • how it enables pupils to progress in their learning; and
  • how schools assess this.

Note: No presentation of RE data is allowed during inspection.


  • The SIAMS National Team recognises that cases of COVID-19 remain endemic in the community so a COVID-19 protocol has been developed.
  • Inspectors will test for COVID before and after inspections.
  • It is expected that some meetings relating to the inspection will take place remotely, e.g. via Zoom.
  • The school’s response to COVID will be an area of focus.  Particularly in relation to how the school’s Christian vision has shaped the school’s response to COVID and the impact that this has had.


‘Excellence’ is:

  • not the same as ‘outstanding’;
  • very difficult to achieve;
  • innovative, exemplary, life-changing and results in courageous action;
  • context-specific; and
  • rooted in theology for education.

Excellent Church Schools:

  • should be “strikingly normal yet quite extraordinary”;
  • “focus on being excellent rather than getting excellent”;
  • should have an all-encompassing theology that informs all that the school does.  This leads to exemplary and courageous action that changes the life of the school; and
  • change lives due to a broad theology that permeates all that they do.

Self-Evaluation and the SIAMS SEF

A full SIAMS SEF document is no longer required.  Instead, it is requested that schools produce a short ‘Summary SEF’ of no more than two sides of A4 in order to provide Inspectors with some information on the school and ensure an accurate inspection.  The summary SEF should be a short, pithy, bullet-pointed document that explains the impact of the school’s work as a church school through its Christian vision. Schools should not grade themselves through the individual strands of their SEF.

It is for individual schools to decide how they wish to present this information.  At present, the SIAMS national team have no plans to issue recommended templates for documents such as the SIAMS SEF.

Further clarification on self-evaluation was provided in January 2022:

  • Previous advice suggested that schools should write one summary/reflection self-evaluation document from their longer ongoing self-evaluation to provide evidence of Good. They were then encouraged to write a second document to ‘make a case for Excellent’ if they believed that grade to be appropriate. This guidance has been changed.
  • From the information in their ongoing in-school self-evaluation, schools write one short, summary self-evaluation, that is aligned with the SIAMS criteria. This should provide an evidence-based evaluation of the impact of their Christian vision. In doing this, it is suggested that they use the language of the Schedule to help them to accurately indicate their evidence-based self-evaluation.
  • Schools should not allocate any specific grades as part of their self-evaluation. The inspector will do that, based on their evaluation of the school’s evidence base. The school’s appropriate use of the language of the Schedule will help the inspector to make this evaluation, but schools should note that all inspection judgements must be evidence-based and that a school’s assertion of any grade will not be sufficient in and of itself.

Please see the SIAMS resources page for updated Information for Schools document that contains a summary of the self-evaluation guidance.

SIAMS resources and Support

For resources to help you prepare for the SIAMS inspection of your school, please click here.

For information on Diocesan support and SIAMS support visits, please click here

Page last updated: Friday 14th July 2023 12:23 PM
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