Ruth Perry's Story and the Ofsted Implications

This blog looks at Ruth Perry’s Story and the call her family are making for changes to the Ofsted inspections.

Ruth’s Story

Ruth Perry was the Headteacher of Caversham Primary School in Reading for 13 years. Tragically she took her own life while waiting for an Ofsted report to be published in January 2023. Mrs. Perry’s family believes that the stress associated with the Ofsted Inspection contributed to her death as the report would have downgraded her school from the highest rating of ‘Outstanding’ to the lowest rating of ‘Inadequate’. The change in judgement was said to be due to ineffective safeguarding. An inquest is being held later in the year which will fully consider the circumstances, with her family saying, ‘the inspection process caused her significant distress.’

Prof Julia Waters (Mrs. Perry’s sister) explained that one of the “most hurtful of many hurtful things” was knowing that the ‘inadequate’ grade given to Mrs. Perry’s school could stay with the school for some time, even if the changes were made immediately. Prof Waters also said her sister didn’t feel she was given a chance to address the issues raised by inspectors about staff training and record keeping. Prof Waters said, “It was the thing that preyed on Ruth’s mind for those 54 days, that one-word judgement summing up 32 years of dedication to the education profession.”

Ofsted Changes

After Mrs. Perry’s Tragedy, Ofsted has confirmed that there will be a number of changes. Here are some of the changes.

  1. Faster re-inspections for safeguarding failures
  2. Academy orders can be revoked
  3. Greater clarity on effective safeguarding
  4. Consultation to overhaul the complaints process
  5. Schools are told which year they’ll be inspected
  6. Heads told they can share draft findings
  7. Critical reports will be ‘de-personalised’
  8. DfE expands heads’ well-being service


Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman said, “…one of the changes announced by Ofsted was changing the language of reports so that we don’t sound over-focused on the head and senior leaders.” “We are reinforcing that heads absolutely can talk to colleagues, governors, other people around them about inspection outcomes – it’s not something they have to keep as a personal secret.”

Effects of Ofsted Changes

We know that education staff work in what can be very stressful environments, no more so, than around the time of Ofsted inspections.

Regarding Mrs. Perry’s case, Ms. Spielman said: “that the system protected children at risk of safeguarding issues and that we need to stay focused on children and the things that are right for them.” Protecting children still needs to be the primary focus of Ofsted, but these changes can lead to a significant decrease in the stress levels felt by staff during that period of time. The less stress the staff feel the more proactive they can be in making the amendments to their inspection outcomes.

Stress Resources

We have created numerous resources relating to stress that are helpful for anyone suffering with excessive stress. Our stress resource hub is full of ways to cope with stress and tips and tricks to help with reducing your stress levels.


Other Resources/ People to contact for help:



Posted Date

22nd June 2023

Kelly Ofasi
Marketing Executive

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