Who was Caversham primary school headteacher Ruth Perry?

THE death of primary school headteacher Ruth Perry in January 2023 has led to calls for Ofsted to be reformed.

The government backed inspectors gave Ms Perry’s school the lowest possible rating, despite being good in every category other than leadership and management. Here’s what we know.


Ruth Perry took her own life in January 2023

Who was Caversham primary school headteacher Ruth Perry?

Ruth Perry was the headteacher of Caversham primary school in Reading, Berkshire.

She took up the role in 2010 and held this post for 13 years.

She took her own life on January 8, 2023, whilst waiting for a report from Ofsted.

The Ofsted report described the school as good in every category other than leadership and management, where it was said to be Inadequate.

Cops arrive at school after head BANS Ofsted over teacher's tragic death
Headteacher to BAN Ofsted from entering school after fellow head killed herself

It also suggested that there were gaps in employment checks for members of staff, potentially putting children at risk.

In response to this, thousands of people have signed a petition in favour of changing the way that schools are inspected.

What has been said about Ofsted?

Perry’s sister, Doctor Julia Waters, criticised the report which she said led to her sister’s suicide.

She said on behalf of the family: “In our opinion, the findings of Ofsted were disproportionate, unfair and, as has tragically been proven, deeply harmful in their focus on one individual.”

The statement continued to outline the effect it had on Perry, saying: “We are in no doubt that Ruth’s death was a direct result of the pressure put on her by the process and outcome of an Ofsted inspection at her school.

“We do not for an instant recognise Ofsted’s ‘inadequate’ judgement as a true reflection of Ruth’s exemplary leadership or of the wonderful school she led.”

Out of 359 schools that were previously rated outstanding by Ofsted, only 140 retained this status in September 2022.

Five of these schools have dropped from the highest possible rating of outstanding to the lowest rating of inadequate.

What is the petition for Ruth Perry about?

A petition set up on by Rona Matters, a freelance school business officer, has seen over 100,000 people sign in favour of change in the school inspection system.

The petition is aimed at Gillian Keegan, the secretary of state for education, and Amanda Spielman, the Chief inspector for Ofsted.

It asks for a review into how Ofsted schools are inspected and how the reports are worded.

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