Ruth Perry: Caversham Primary School rating upgraded to 'good' in all areas in new Ofsted report

  • ITV New's Sejal Karia speaking to Chris Ship about the Ofsted re-inspection

The school, where a headteacher took her own life after an Ofsted inspection, has been rated as 'good' in all areas after a full inspection.

Ruth Perry, who was head at Caversham Primary School in Reading, killed herself in January while waiting for an Ofsted report which gave her school the lowest possible rating.

Ofsted inspectors carried out a full inspection of the school on 21 and 22 June.

It school was rated as ‘good’ in all areas, including quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management and early years provision. Safeguarding was judged to be effective.

Neil Walne, Chair of Caversham Primary School Governors, said: “We fully acknowledge and pay tribute to the work that Mrs Perry started immediately after last November's inspection and hold her in our thoughts as we thank school leaders, teachers and support staff for their tremendous hard work under extremely challenging circumstances in the last six months."

"I am also grateful to our pupils, parents and local community for being so supportive and helping the school to continue to thrive.”

Ruth Perry's sister Professor Julia Waters said: "I should like to commend the wonderful team at Caversham Primary School for rising so well to the challenge of the recent re-inspection.

"To have achieved a ‘good’ judgement in all areas is a testament to their hard work and dedication, as well as to the actions that Ruth had already taken to address the issues identified during the November 2022 inspection.

"All the members of the senior leadership team at Caversham were appointed or promoted, trained and led by my sister, Ruth, in her sixteen years as deputy and head teacher. They have never been anything other than excellent, caring and professional.

"That Caversham Primary School could be judged ‘good’ in all areas just months after the previous ‘inadequate’ judgement amply proves what all those who knew Ruth and the school have known all along. Ruth’s leadership was not inadequate and Caversham Primary was never a failing school.

"The reversal of the previous judgement in a matter of a few months illustrates why 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. 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.

"That Ruth was left feeling suicidal as a result of Ofsted’s previous judgement demonstrates, in the most tragic way possible, the intolerably high stakes created by the current inspection system.

"Ruth was not the first headteacher or teacher to take her own life following an Ofsted inspection. I am determined that she should be the last.

"Parents, pupils and teachers deserve an inspection regime that they can trust and which supports schools to do the best for every child.

"I urge everyone who wants to see a reformed schools inspection system to respond to the Education Committee’s call for evidence to its forthcoming parliamentary inquiry.

"The deadline is 20 July 2023."

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