Ruth Perry: School run by teacher who took own life after Ofsted inspection upgraded to ‘good’ | UK News

A school run by a headteacher who took her own life after it was downgraded by Ofsted has now been rated as good.

Ruth Perry died in January after Caversham Primary School in Berkshire went from outstanding – the highest rating – to inadequate due to safeguarding concerns.

Her family believes stress associated with the inspection was a major factor in her death.

The tragedy prompted many teachers to call for changes to the inspection system and the end of the one-word grading system.

The school was reinspected on 21 and 22 June and assessed as good in all categories, the second-best rating.

A copy of the report says work “to address previous weaknesses has been swift, thorough and effective”.

“Straight after the last inspection, useful advice was sought from beyond the school,” it adds.

“In particular, this helped leaders to understand fully the extent of the weaknesses in safeguarding arrangements and prioritise what needed to be done.

“Ongoing and determined work has ensured that the improvements made have gone beyond the essential changes that were needed.”

Caversham Primary School
Caversham Primary School has made swift improvements, says Ofsted

The report mentions Ms Perry – and her sister said it shows how Ruth and school staff had quickly turned things around since the November inspection.

Professor Julia Waters added schools “should be given the opportunity to correct any technical weaknesses before the final report is published”.

“An inspection should be about helping schools with independent scrutiny, not catching them out and publicly shaming them,” said Ms Perry’s sister.

“Ofsted’s use of safeguarding as a ‘limiting judgement’, overriding all other strengths and complexities of a school, puts headteachers in that position of constant jeopardy.”

Ofsted boss Amanda Spielman has said the current one-word system should stay, but MPs will look into it as part of an upcoming inquiry into the inspections system.

Ms Spielman also said staff who produced the initial Caversham report were “professional and humane” in their work.

However, it has announced changes – such as giving schools more information on when inspections will happen and a consultation on reforms to the complaints system.

Schools where safeguarding concerns prompt an overall ‘inadequate’ rating, but where other measures are rated good or better, will also now be revisited within three months.

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK