Urgent reform of Ofsted needed

Educators’ union Community has called for urgent reform of Ofsted following the tragic death of head teacher Ruth Perry.

Last week a senior coroner’s report ruled that an Ofsted inspection carried out at Caversham Primary School in Reading in November 2022 had been a contributing factor in Mrs Perry’s mental health deterioration and subsequent suicide in January this year. The coroner noted that Ofsted’s inspection at the school had “lacked fairness, respect and sensitivity.”

Community Union’s National Officer for Education and Early Years, Helen Osgood, said:

“Our thoughts go out to Ruth Perry’s family and friends at this difficult time. No head teacher should be put at risk, and every educator deserves to work in a safe environment.

“It is now abundantly clear that Ofsted is a broken system. It does not help schools to improve and has no measurable impact on outcomes for our children.  In fact, the National Audit Office does not even consider it to provide value for money.

“Yet we are currently beholden to a system which measures the value of our schools on a narrow, rigid set of criteria; and which frequently points an unfair finger of blame at hardworking educators and staff whilst letting the government off the hook for its lack of a duty of care to those who work in our schools.

“It’s time for urgent reform. We want a system where schools are supported to improve, not to have compulsory academisation meted out to any school judged to have ‘failed’ by an Ofsted system that has clearly failed students, educators, and parents.”

Community is the union for education and early years professionals: representing teachers, headteachers, education, school support staff and early years staff. With over fifty years’ experience, we represent members and campaign to improve conditions for education and early years professionals. We are a modern trade union, campaigning for a better working world.

If you are a member of Community and need help or advice, please contact us at help@community-tu.org or on 0800 389 6332.

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