School leaders call for pause on Ofsted inspections

School leaders' union NAHT has called for there to be a pause in Ofsted inspections, following the tragic death of headteacher Ruth Perry.

Ruth Perry, headteacher at Caversham primary school in Berkshire, took her own life ahead of a school inspection report being published that rated her school as inadequate.

A statement was released by Perry's sister Julia Waters via the NAHT which said "we are in no doubt that Ruth’s death was a direct result of the pressure put on her by the process and outcome of an Ofsted inspection at her school.”

The Ofsted report has now been published on its website.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders' union NAHT, said: "Ruth Perry’s death is an unspeakable tragedy and it is clear that school leaders across the nation have been deeply affected by the news.

"Having spoken with Ruth’s family, we know they are determined that something like this should never happen again. It is important that everyone listens to what they have to say.

"NAHT has long campaigned for fundamental reform of the current inspection system. We know that at our upcoming annual conference, our members will be determined that this campaign is intensified.

"It is clear that school leaders up and down the country are placed under intolerable pressure by the current approach. It cannot be right that we treat dedicated professions in this way. Something has to change. Whilst it should never take a tragedy like this to prompt action, this has to be a watershed moment.

"The anger and hurt being expressed currently by school staff is palpable. It is essential that all policy makers, including Ofsted, listen and respond.

"Given the strength of feeling and the need for a period of calm reflection, Ofsted should pause inspections this week."

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