Advice and guidance

School Effectiveness Advice and Guidance

Regular updates supporting the day to day leadership and management of church schools.

Examples of best practice in the form of model templates, policies and guidance materials will be included.

Content will be reviewed and archived as appropriate.

Discussion with HMI regarding inspection and best practice

January 2017

Training for inspectors regarding Church schools;

  • Inspectors within the northern region are given groupo and individual training regarding the distinctiveness of Church schools.  The training is at a basic level, for example the difference in governance of a voulntary aided or voluntary controlled school.  Inspectors are encouraged to gather information from the diocese.  The are advised to use SIAMS reports current within 12 to 18 months.  SIAS reports are unlikely to be used.
  • If inspectors do not agree to a Headteacher's request to talk with a diocesan representative the Head teacher should immediately raisea concern with the inspector and with the diocese.

Giving diocesan school reports to inspectors;

  • Many schools have recieved formal reports following diocesan visits since January 2016.
  • Senior leaders (including governors) are at liberty to present the reports to the inspector.  However, if a report is given it wil be used in the the context of judgement of the school's effectiveness.
  • Senior leaders must be clear as to the purpose of all diocesan report, particulalry those regarding the school's effectiveness. (see below)

Ensuring clarity around the partnership between diocesan partner and the school for school improvement;

  • Diocesan reports do not include judgement about the school's effectiveness.
  • Reports offer advice and guidance appropriate to the nature of the school visit.
  • Diocesan report formats are to be reviewed within the fuller review of the Enhanced Services Programme for 2017-18.
  • The Head Teacher Partnership Group has contributed to the review of the Services to Church Schools and Academies 2016-17.  It's opinion will be considered with regard to appropriate report formats going forward.
  • If a report does not​ make direct judgement on the school's effectiveness with reference to the current Ofsted inspection framework it should not be presented during inspection.
  • Head Teachers can expressly ask for reviews and monitoring of school effectiveness for example, monitoring of teaching and learning, governance, full review, asessment processes, and many others through the schools Enhanced Services Plan or Bespoke Services.

Timescales for short inspections (for ‘good’ schools);

  • It is expected that all schools judged as 'Good' before September 2014 and that have not received inspection for more than three years wil be inspected by the end of the academic year.
  • 'Good' schools receive an S8 short inspection.  If the inspector consider there is eveidence to change the overall effectiveness judgement the inspection will convert to a full S5 inspection.
  • Converting from an S8 to an S5 inspction could be to evaluate whether the school is operating as an outstanding school. a school that requires improvement or a school that is inadequate. 

The importance of your website;

  • Schools must be compliant under statutory requirements. (See 'What maintained schools must publish online'
  • However, the overall layout and organisation of the website gives information around school leadership and culture in a more general sense, for example is the website
    • easy to navigate?
    • promote quick links to key information for parents, stakeholders and inspectors?
    • demonstrate the school's vision throughout its pages?
    • transparent and readable to a range of audiences?

Inspection of Multi-academy Trusts (MATs);

  • Inspection of Trusts is incresaing in number.
  • When a MAT is inspected several of it's school will be visited.
  • The school's visited will be chosen at random, or to give an overall view of the MAT and including schools with different individual inspection judgements.

Leading your inspection;

  • Ensure senior leaders, including governors, can talk confidently and knowledgeably about the schools self-evaluation.
  • Have your 'Inspection Call' check-list up to date.
  • Keep the SEF up to date by regular review of inprovement plans and development plans.
  • Be clear about roles, reposnibilities and accountabilities of all staff members.  Provide opportunities for team members to talk about the impact of their roles and responsibilites in a range of forums.

The balance between attainment and progress data;

  • Achievement over time is inspected.
  • One year of elevated or dip data is unlikley to change an overal inspection.
  • A balance between progress and attainment is carefully evaluated.

Ensuring your school improvement plan contributes to inspector confidence;

  • School development, or improvement, plans must demonstrate clarity, rigour and be robust.
  • Formats for plans are at the school's discretion.
  • Strong plans always demonstrate concise, simple objectives with the following information separate from each other;
    • The objective
    • The action
    • Who will do the action
    • who will monitor the action
    • what will the impact be including clear impact measures.


Advice and Guidance

Diocesan Board of Education definition of vulnerable schools and influencing levers.

Latest Guidance from the DfE of schools causing concern

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