Suicide of Headteacher Following Controversial Ofsted Report

Suicide of Headteacher Following Controversial Ofsted Report

The headteacher of Caversham Primary School in Reading, Ruth Perry, committed suicide in January of this year following a negative Ofsted report, which she claimed was a ‘complete injustice.’

Perry had been head of the school for 13 years and had an extraordinary bond with it, having been a pupil there before returning as a deputy headteacher and being promoted to principal in 2010.

The report, published this week, found the school to be Good in every category, except leadership and management, where it was judged to be Inadequate, primarily due to poor record keeping, with gaps in employment checks potentially putting children at risk.

Perry’s sister, Julia, claimed that the inspection process and report were unjust, alleging that inspectors downgraded the school based on a child doing the flossing dance, which they claimed was evidence of the sexualisation of pupils at the school.

Perry also reportedly disputed the inspectors’ claim that they had witnessed child-on-child abuse, insisting that it was merely a playground scuffle.

The inspection experience and the resulting report was devastating for Perry, who claimed it was the ‘worst day of my life.’

According to her sister, Perry became ‘an absolute shadow of her former self,’ The one-word judgement of Inadequate ‘is just destroying 32 years of her vocation; education was her vocation.

32 years summed up in one word, Inadequate. It just preyed on her mind until she couldn’t take it anymore.’

The report published this week found the school to be Good in every category except leadership and management, where it was judged to be Inadequate due to poor record keeping, gaps in employment checks, and a weak understanding of safeguarding requirements and procedures.

Inspectors noted that relationships between staff and pupils were warm and supportive, and incidents of bullying were rare.

However, they also found that leaders did not have the knowledge to keep pupils safe from harm, and safeguarding was ineffective throughout the school.

Following Perry’s death, her family released a statement describing her as a dedicated headteacher and excellent teacher who cared deeply about the well-being and happiness of the pupils and staff whom she taught and led.

The family also urged anyone affected by her death to talk about their feelings and seek help, providing helplines and support services available on the Reading Family Information Service website.

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