Ofsted

Ofsted inspections to restart on January 22

Union leaders and MAT body boss will also provide 'constructive challenge' on Ofsted's response to critical coroner report

Union leaders and MAT body boss will also provide 'constructive challenge' on Ofsted's response to critical coroner report

Ofsted inspections will resume on January 22 after they were paused so inspectors could undergo mental health awareness training in the wake of Ruth Perry’s death.

Chief inspector Sir Martyn Oliver also said Ofsted will respond in full to the senior coroner Heidi Connor’s recommendations from Perry’s inquest on 19 January. 

The coroner last month ruled an Ofsted inspection in November 2022 contributed to the death by suicide of headteacher Perry in January last year.

The leaders of headteacher unions the Association of School and College Leaders and the National Association of Head Teachers and Leora Cruddas, chief executive of the Confederation of School Trusts, will “provide constructive challenge” to Ofsted’s coroner response.

Ofsted said the group will continue to meet after the inquest response for “intensive work on ensuring head teachers feel confident, as inspections resume, to raise any serious concerns”.

The watchdog said when inspections return on January 22, all lead inspectors working in schools and further education will have completed both sessions of the new mental health training.

Every inspector will have completed the training by the end of March.  

Ofsted has committed to publishing the mental health training.

‘Change in culture’

It also wants to publish its response to the coroner’s report “as soon as it is completed, ensuring the whole profession can be reassured of the fullness of Ofsted’s response and Sir Martyn’s personal commitment to learn from the tragedy of Ruth Perry’s death”.  

Oliver said: “Inspection plays a vital role in making sure that children and learners are getting the education and care they need and deserve. So we need to get back to that work as quickly as we can.

“But I’ve also been very clear that we must reflect on the findings of the coroner, learn from the tragic events of last year, and emerge as a better and more effective inspectorate. That means being trusted by parents and respected by the education and social care professionals we work with. “

He said the awareness training was the “critical first step in reassuring the sectors we work with that we’re serious about change”.

He described the meetings this week, which included meeting Perry’s sister, as “constructive”.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT, said: “I felt that for the first time in far too long Ofsted took seriously the concerns of NAHT members.”

Cruddas tweeted: “The conversations today have been very positive and signal a change in practice, tone and culture.”

Inspectors to observe minute’s silence

Oliver will lead Ofsted inspectors in observing a minute’s silence for Perry during training on Monday to mark the first anniversary of the headteacher’s death.

The former academy trust boss, who took over as chief inspector this week, made the commitment to Perry’s sister Julia Waters at the first meeting between Ofsted and her family on Thursday afternoon, BBC One’s South Today programme first reported.

After the meeting, Waters told the broadcaster: “He started talking about the training that’s starting next week, but he did say ‘I recognise that that training starts on the anniversary of Ruth’s death’, and he looked genuinely quite emotional when saying that.

“And he says he’s going to be addressing all the inspectors and he will be asking for a moment’s silence and reflection on that, and making that link between, this is why we’re having the training.”

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6 Comments

  1. Sandy Cameron

    “Inspection plays a vital role in making sure that children and learners are getting the education and care they need and deserve.”

    “Inspection” (the Ofsted way) is NOT the only way to make sure children are getting the education to which they are entitled. (“Deserve”? Deserts have nothing to do with it!)

  2. Mary Groves

    I think for too long OFSTED have been allowed to bully and abuse agencies they are ‘inspecting’. Happily I am now retired, but my experience of OFSTED is just that, a merry band of bullies, some of whom couldnt cut it as teachers, social workers and other public sector workers.
    They need to be a solution based agency that form a collaborative improvement service. They need to team up with agencies to raise and maintain standards, it’s not helpful to identify problems and walk away without helping to achieve improvements.
    I was not a teacher but I did meet the teacher in question, (before she was a head )at a number of interagency meetings, she was kind, compassionate and went to great lengths to ensure children were cared for protected and happy, she was a lovely teacher.

  3. Mary Groves

    Ofsted need fundamental change, there is no longer a place for the oppressive nature of this agency, a more collaborative improvement agency is what is needed.

  4. Mary Groves

    Ofsted need fundamental change, there is no longer a place for psychologically harmful ‘inspection, a more collaborative improvement agency is what is needed.