Ofsted upgrades school of former headteacher Ruth Perry who took her own life following earlier inspection
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The school run by a headteacher who took her own life after a major downgrade by Ofsted has been rated as ‘good’ following a new inspection. Ruth Perry, 53, who had worked at the Caversham Primary School for 13 years, died in January after it was downgraded from outstanding to inadequate.
According to reports, the Reading school was re-inspected after Ms Perry’s death, which triggered an outrage across the education sector over the current inspection system. Ofsted has since defended its one-word method of grading schools, which they said will not be scrapped.
The watchdog inspected the school again in June in line with government guidelines to monitor schools needing to improve, and not as a result of Ms Perry’s death. In their latest report as seen by the BBC, the education watchdog said: “The school’s work to address previous weaknesses has been swift, thorough and effective.”
The head teacher’s sister Prof Julia Waters said it was a "very bittersweet moment", but confirmed "what anyone who knew Ruth and the school knew all along". She said one-word grades do not give an accurate reflection of the strengths and weaknesses "of a complex organisation like a school".
The primary school was initially inspected in November 2022 and subsequently rated inadequate after concerns were raised over leadership and management. The new report said useful advice was sought from beyond the school straight after the last inspection.
The report said: "In particular, this helped leaders to fully understand the extent of the weaknesses in safeguarding arrangements and prioritise what needed to be done.
Ms Waters told the BBC that staff at the school who had worked with or been trained by Ms Perry had never been anything other than "excellent, caring and professional".
She added: "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."
Last month, Ofsted announced changes to its inspection system. These included allowing schools given an inadequate rating over safeguarding to be re-inspected within three months, giving them a chance to be re-graded if they have addressed concerns.