Calls for Ofsted reform grow at meeting with education secretary following Ruth Perry's death

Ruth Perry Credit: Caversham Primary School

Calls for the schools inspection service Ofsted to be reformed lead by teachers and others in Reading are growing following a meeting with the education secretary.

A push for changes to the Ofsted system has grown this year following the death of Caversham Primary School headteacher Ruth Perry.

Ms Perry took her life after she received news her school would receive an 'Inadequate' Ofsted rating.

The news has prompted teachers and others to call for Ofsted's one word judgements to be scrapped.

Currently, schools are judged either 'Outstanding', 'Good', 'Requires Improvement' and 'Inadequate.'

But The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) is among groups that have called for these one word judgements to be abolished, with Geoff Barton, the union's general secretary, calling them a woefully blunt tool for measuring school performance.

Matt Rodda, the Labour MP for Reading East is calling for Ofsted conduct to be significantly reformed in a series of meetings with Gillian Keegan the secretary of state for education and Conservative MP for Chichester.

Mr Rodda said: "We had a productive meeting with the education secretary, however the Government has still not agreed to removing the single word judgement from Ofsted reports, despite concerns about this approach.

"I would like to see reports describing a range of strengths of a school when it is inspected and for inspectors to offer more support to heads and teachers, changing the culture of Ofsted."

Reading East MP Matt Rodda, Ruth Perry's sister Julia Waters, Lisa Telling, of Reading Primary Heads and local parent Edmund Barnett-Ward. Credit: Office of Matt Rodda

The most recent meeting took place on Thursday, July 19.

It was attended by Professor Julia Waters, the sister of Ruth Perry, Lisa Telling, chair of Reading Primary Heads and executive headteacher of Katesgrove Primary and Edmund Barnett-Ward, who's says his four children "all thrived" at Caversham Primary.

Mr Rodda added: "The meeting did make some progress and I want to thank the Education Secretary for engaging with us.

"For example, we discussed how headteachers whose schools have been inspected could be given more support, through being allowed to discuss their school's draft report with a slightly wider group of colleagues.

"I am continuing to work with Julia Waters, Lisa Telling, chair of Reading Primary Heads and a parent representative to call for more significant reform of Ofsted."

A Department for Education spokesperson has defended one word judgements.

They said: "Ofsted is central to this government's success in raising school standards, and it is right it continues to evolve.

"We have committed to continuing our work on improving the way we inspect our schools with Ofsted and the family of Ruth Perry following her tragic death.

"One-word inspections succinctly summarise independent evaluations on the quality of education, safeguarding, and leadership which parents greatly rely on to give them confidence in choosing the right school for their child."

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