Ofsted promises changes after head teacher Ruth Perry’s death

Schools watchdog Ofsted has said it will make changes after the suicide of head teacher Ruth Perry in January.

Chief inspector Amanda Spielman said Ofsted was piloting changes to its complaints system, but added the single overall grade for schools would stay.

Ms Perry took her own life while waiting for Ofsted to publish a report grading her school Inadequate.

Her sister Julia Waters told BBC News she wanted inspections to be paused, to allow a full review.

Ofsted has said its thoughts are with Ms Perry’s family, and described her death as a tragedy.

Prof Waters told BBC News condolences weren’t enough, and said the family had not heard directly from Ofsted about the concerns the family has raised.

“It adds to the hurt, it adds to the outrage, it adds to our feeling of injustice about what happened to Ruth,” she said.

The family believes the anxiety and stress following the inspection led to Ms Perry’s suicide.

Prof Waters said she had been overwhelmed by the number of people getting in touch and speaking out about Ofsted.

“It is a potentially dangerous system,” she told BBC News, adding that a pause in inspections would be the “decent, empathetic, human thing to do”.

She wants an independent inquiry into what happened at Ms Perry’s school and a review of the culture of inspections at Ofsted.

Read more from BBC News

Ofsted should be abolished, teaching union NASUWT agrees

Teaching union NASUWT has approved a motion calling for the abolition of Ofsted, adding to growing pressure on the schools watchdog.

Teachers described a “deep-seated fear” of Ofsted inspections at the union’s annual conference in Glasgow on Monday.

Last month, the National Education Union also called for an immediate freeze to inspections.

Ofsted has said most school leaders find inspections “constructive and collaborative”.

There has been mounting criticism of Ofsted following the death of head teacher Ruth Perry, who took her own life ahead of a report downgrading her school from “outstanding” to “inadequate”.

Her family has said her death was a “direct result of the pressure” caused by the school inspection.

State schools in England which are inspected by Ofsted are ranked on a four-point scale – “outstanding”, “good”, “requires improvement” and “inadequate”.

The motion passed on Monday acknowledged that the “perceived demands of Ofsted are the major contributor to the excessive workload and bureaucracy that blights the lives of teachers”.

It instructed the NASUWT’s national executive to work with other education unions to call for an immediate inspections freeze, and to launch a campaign to abolish the system in its “current form”, replacing it with a supportive framework.

Read more on BBC News

Ofsted unfit for purpose, says ex-inspector

A school leader who quit as an Ofsted inspector this week has told the BBC he felt his role could cause “more harm than good”.

Dr Martin Hanbury’s decision comes after head teacher Ruth Perry took her own life ahead of a report downgrading her school to “inadequate”.

Teachers in the National Education Union are also being urged to refuse to do inspections for England’s regulator.

Ofsted said most school leaders found them “constructive and collaborative.”

The Department for Education said Ofsted has a “crucial role to play in upholding education standards and making sure children are safe in school.”

Mr Hanbury, who did not inspect Ms Perry’s school, told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme that regulating schools was important but said the current system was “scrutinising” schools without giving them support.

Read the full story on BBC News

Head teachers refuse to work for Ofsted after Ruth Perry’s suicide

Head teachers are refusing to serve as Ofsted inspectors and teachers are calling for the regulator to be abolished.

Delegates at the National Education Union voted to run a campaign for Ofsted to be replaced in the wake of the death of Ruth Perry. The head teacher from Reading killed herself in January after an Ofsted report downgraded her school from outstanding to inadequate, according to her family.

Her sister, Julia Waters, sent a message to the union’s annual conference in Harrogate thanking the union for its support.

Read more in the Times

UK Government and Parliament:

Petition to urgently review the current Ofsted Framework and associated methodology

In light of recent events, and in meaningful consultation with the sector, review the Ofsted framework and methodology, which we believe are overly burdensome and do little to improve school performance. Government should urgently consider the impact of Ofsted on the wellbeing of education staff.

At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament

Sign here

Academy school bosses call for Ofsted rethink

School bosses who run more than 200 academies in England say Ofsted must rethink how it does inspections.

The 12 chief executives said they were concerned pre-Covid standards were being applied to schools still dealing with lost learning and troubled behaviour after lockdowns.

Ofsted, England’s schools watchdog, has said it aimed to carry out inspections with sensitivity and professionalism.

It comes after head teacher Ruth Perry took her own life.

Read more in BBC News

‘Unfit for purpose’: Ofsted could face legal challenge from school leaders

As anger mounts over headteacher’s suicide, group bids for judicial review into inconsistencies of rulings by watchdog

Senior school leaders are attempting to launch a judicial review against Ofsted on behalf of the whole sector, amid claims that schools feel “powerless” to challenge unfair or inconsistent inspection judgments, the Observer has learned.

What Ofsted has called the “outpouring of anger” from schools across the country over the suicide of Berkshire headteacher Ruth Perry in January, after the inspectorate downgraded her school, has shown no signs of abating.

Heads say individual schools are generally put off pursuing a legal appeal against an Ofsted grading because of the costs involved. Former inspectors say the “vast majority” of complaints made to the inspectorate are not upheld. However, one group of school leaders is currently talking to lawyers about a potential group judicial review of Ofsted, challenging inconsistencies in the way it inspects and judges schools.

Read more in the Guardian

A life’s work destroyed by insensitive Ofsted inspections

Former headteachers on the personal and professional toll of dealing with inspections

I was deeply saddened to read about Ruth Perry, the headteacher of Caversham primary school (Headteacher killed herself after news of low Ofsted rating, family says, 17 March). Over 20 years ago, I was an inner-city primary school headteacher whose school was subjected to one of the first Ofsted inspections. The school was placed in special measures, despite the fact that we were providing a safe and caring environment for our children. The inspection itself was dominated by Sats results and took little account of the school’s overall circumstances. One morning, during the inspection, a nine-year-old boy was sitting in my office – we were waiting for a social worker to attend since the boy had come to school high on cocaine and cannabis. An inspector saw us and told me that she was going to have to note that the boy was “not receiving equal access to the national curriculum”.

Read more letters in the Guardian

EXCLUSIVE: Headteacher takes long-term sick leave after being criticised by Ofsted inspectors who dropped his school from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate’

  • Barnacre Road primary school went from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate’ in Ofsted report
  • The school has been placed in special measures after the report this week

A much-loved headteacher has taken long-term sick leave, apparently because he is suffering from stress, after being criticised by Ofsted inspectors, MailOnline has learned.

Simon Wallis, hailed as ‘inspirational’ by the controversial schools watchdog just a few years ago, is not expected back at work after Barnacre Road primary school, Longridge near Preston, was placed in special measures and dropped from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate’ in this week’s report.

The news follows the shocking case of Berkshire head Ruth Perry, 53, who killed herself in January after her school dropped from outstanding to inadequate – an experience she called the worst day of her life.

Read more in the Daily Mail