Ofsted Chief Defends School Inspection Following Teacher’s Death


Ofsted’s chief inspector Amanda Spielman has expressed her willingness to meet with the family of Ruth Perry, the headteacher of Caversham Primary in Reading who took her own life in January while awaiting the results of an inspection. In an interview with the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme, Ms Spielman said that she had no reason to doubt the findings of the inspection, and that the inspection team had worked with the professionalism and sensitivity that she would expect.

Ms Perry’s family believe that the anxiety and stress caused by the inspection led to her suicide. When asked if she had spoken to the family, Ms Spielman said that Ofsted had not received an approach and had not wanted to intrude on their grief, but that she would be open to a meeting. She also acknowledged that there was a culture of fear around Ofsted inspections, which she said was the result of several factors, including people thinking about the consequences of inspections.

Ms Spielman pointed out that inadequate judgements make up a tiny proportion of inspections, and for the vast majority of schools it is a positive and affirming experience. She said that she wanted to ensure that inspections are conducted in a way that is fair and proportionate, and that schools are given the support they need to improve. She also said that she was committed to making sure that inspections are conducted in a way that respects the dignity of school staff.