One-word school grades to stay, the head of Ofsted saysApril 20, 2023
One-word school grades to stay, the head of Ofsted says despite backlash following the death of teacher Ruth Perry
- Ms Spielman said Ofsted was ‘making changes’ but one-word gradings will stay
- Comes in wake of Ruth Perry taking her life over ‘deeply harmful’ report
The head of Ofsted has proposed inspection reforms in wake of Ruth Perry’s death – but one-word gradings will stay.
Chief inspector Amanda Spielman said the regulator was ‘making changes’ amid mounting pressure to reform the watchdog.
Headteacher Ms Perry took her life while waiting for a report that would label Caversham Primary School in Reading ‘inadequate’ – the lowest possible rating.
Her heartbroken family branded the report’s findings ‘unfair’ and ‘sensationalist’ – adding that it was ‘deeply harmful’.
Ms Perry’s death sparked demands from unions and headteachers across the country to scrap the regulator for good.
Chief inspector Amanda Spielman (pictured) said the regulator was ‘making changes’ but one-word gradings will stay
Headteacher Ms Perry (pictured) took her life while waiting for a report that would label Caversham Primary School in Reading ‘inadequate’ – the lowest possible rating
Today, Ms Speilman said Ofsted was exploring how schools with safeguarding failings could be reinspected quicker.
And that it was ‘piloting changes’ to the complaints process in an effort to make it more responsive.
Ms Speilman said: ‘In recent weeks there has been much debate about reform of school inspections.
READ MORE: Education Secretary Gillian Keegan backs Ofsted’s one-word assessments despite calls for the system to be abolished following the death of headteacher Ruth Perry
‘We regularly discuss changes with representative groups, unions, Ministers and others – I met the Secretary of State just this week to discuss our plans.
‘Since the tragic news about Ruth Perry first broke these conversations have intensified, and I want to bring some of that out into the open.
‘We are making changes. One of the most critical areas we look at on inspection is safeguarding..We are looking at how we can return more quickly to schools who have work to do on safeguarding but are otherwise performing well.
‘It’s also important that when school leaders disagree with our judgements there is a robust system of review.
‘We are currently piloting changes to our complaints process which I hope will make it more responsive – so that issues can be addressed during the inspection rather than considered afterwards, which creates delay and frustration.
‘But as I’ve said previously, the overall grade currently plays an integral part in the wider school system.’
Other proposals include allowing heads and teachers to have a colleague from the school or trust join the discussions with inspectors.
Ms Perry had a long history with Caversham Primary School in Reading, having been a pupil there before returning to lead as principal for 12 years.
The primary school had been rated ‘outstanding’ from 2009 until November 15, when three Ofsted inspectors arrived.
Ms Perry’s sister Professor Julia Waters (pictured), said the inspection had been the ‘worst day of her life’.
Ms Perry’s death sparked protests across the sector. Pictured: National Education Union call for urgent reforms on March 23
Her heartbroken sister, Professor Julia Waters, said the inspection had been the ‘worst day of her life’.
Ms Perry’s death sparked protests across the sector. Headteachers in Suffolk said they would support schools taking part in peaceful protests during inspections.
And in Reading, schools have been removing logos and references to Ofsted ratings from their websites, as well as displaying photographs of Ms Perry around schools when inspections take palace.
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: ‘Nothing is more important than keeping children safe. I am clear that we will not water down crucial safeguarding standards that underpin Ofsted’s role.
‘I have always said I will listen to the views of teachers. Following a positive meeting with His Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Ofsted will intensify its work to reassure leaders and teachers, including making sure they feel safeguarding is considered proportionally in overall school judgements.’
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