Section 48 Inspection or Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS)

Each Church school and Academy is required to have a Section 48 Inspection for a judgement on its distinctiveness and effectiveness as a Church of England school. Previously, the Section 48 inspection was scheduled to follow the Section 5 school inspection by Ofsted. However, since 2013 the timing of the Section 48 inspection is no longer related to the Section 5 inspection. The National Society has issued advice that a Section 48 inspection should occur sometime after five years has elapsed following the previous Section 48 inspection. The SIAMS inspection therefore has its own status and value, rather than being an appendix to that conducted by Ofsted.

The purpose of the SIAMS inspection is to verify the school’s evaluation of its performance in relation to the key questions:

  1. How well does the school, through its distinctive Christian character, meet the needs of all learners?
  2. What is the impact of collective worship on the school community?
  3. How effective is the Religious Education? *
  4. How effective are the leadership and management of the school as a church school?

* The religious education question is relevant to schools that are Voluntary Aided and Academies that were previously Voluntary Aided

Each of these questions is complemented by a set of evaluation statements to assist Inspectors in coming to their judgements. They can be summarised thus:

Christian Character

Is there a clear Christian rationale for ensuring that pupils achieve well, in all areas, as whole beings?

Is sufficient importance placed on spiritual, moral, social and cultural development as well as the academic achievement that will allow access to participation in society rather than exclusion?

Collective Worship

Is the collective worship distinctive of the Christian character of the school, and does this have an impact on the life of the school?

Leadership and Management

Does the whole leadership and management of the school work towards common goals that can be seen to have a distinctively Christian dimension?

Religious Education

Is the religious education having an effect that will result in knowledgeable, reflective pupils who have gained an insight into the significance of Christianity and considered its implications for people, as well as learning about the wisdom of other faith traditions?

Overall, what is being inspected is whether a Church school is living out its mission to provide the best education for all pupils within a Christian understanding of education.Schools are strongly advised to maintain a schedule of self-evaluation, whether this is the National Society model or schools’ own preferred model.

For support with reviewing and developing the distinctiveness of the school’s provision, please contact Jill Stolberg, RE Adviser.


The Birmingham DBE protocol for arrangements for SIAMS inspections

The National Society Framework for Inspection & Self-Evaluation Schedule

The National Society Self-evaluation Model

Grade Descriptors for each of the judgements