Religious Education and Church School inspections

What is Religious Education?

Religious education is an academic subject giving children and young people an understanding of how beliefs and values affect our lives. Pupils in Church schools learn about Christianity and other major religious and non-religious views. Christianity lies at the heart of the curriculum because Church schools reflect the Christian Gospel in all that they do. The youngest pupils are introduced to Christianity as a living faith related to the values, attitudes, relationships and aspirations exemplified in the school community. They are not expected to become committed Christians. Pupils from all faiths and none enjoy engaging and inspiring religious education related to real life experiences.

The Inspection of Religious Education (Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools - SIAMS)

The Church of England and the Methodist Church use the National Society's framework for the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) under Section 48 of the Education Act 2005. The framework 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. The framework provides a process for evaluating the extent to which Church schools are "distinctively and recognisably Christian institutions"

The Focus of a SIAMS Inspection

SIAMS inspections focus on the effect that the distinctive Christian character of the Church school has on the children and young people in the school community. Church schools will employ a variety of strategies and styles, which reflect their particular local context or Church tradition, in order to be distinctive and effective. Inspectors will, therefore, not be looking to apply a preconceived template of what a Church school should be like. The principal objective of a SIAMS inspection is to evaluate the distinctiveness and effectiveness of the school as a Church school.

Towards this objective, inspectors seek answers to four key questions:

How well does the school, through its distinctive Christian character, meet the needs of all learners?

What is the impact of collective worship on the school community?

How effective is the religious education? (in VA schools and academies)

How effective is the leadership and management of the school as a Church school?

The National Society's Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) framework is used in all Section 48 inspections of Church of England schools and in the denominational inspection of academies.

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