Ofsted chief ‘should quit now’, says Ruth Perry’s sister as briefing memo is revealed | Ofsted #Ofsted #chief #quit #Ruth #Perrys #sister #briefing #memo #revealed #Ofsted

Ruth Perry’s family has called on Ofsted’s chief inspector to resign immediately after it was revealed its lead inspectors will spend just 90 minutes on a briefing to address concerns raised by the headteacher’s suicide.

Julia Waters, Perry’s sister, said the “shocking” response showed that Amanda Spielman had “lost the plot” as chief inspector and should resign now ahead of her term finishing at the end of the year.

A coroner last week concluded that Ofsted’s inspection of Perry’s school contributed to her death. After the verdict Spielman announced a delay to inspections this week for training on “recognising and responding to visible signs of anxiety” during visits by the regulator.

However, an internal Ofsted memo, seen by the Guardian, shows that the “national briefing” planned for Monday will be a 90-minute online webinar and Q&A session, followed by a 30-minute regional “forum for follow-up” online meeting.

Waters told the Guardian: “I would say it is shocking, if we didn’t know what we know now about Ofsted. Ofsted is a total shambles, and its leaders are out of touch with reality.

“The Ofsted system has failed to support teachers and headteachers for years. A 90-minute webinar is better than nothing, or a single bullet point, but it is not enough to undo years of systemic and cultural problems.

“If this was Amanda Spielman trying to show she is taking action in response to a damning coroner’s conclusion, then she has clearly lost the plot as well as running out of ideas.

“She may only have a few weeks to go before she is due to hand over to her successor, but the need for reform is urgent. She should quit now and let someone else get on with it.”

Ofsted was criticised by the coroner for its “intimidating” inspection and for its failure to train or guide its inspectors over the high levels of stress heaped on school leaders such as Perry. Ofsted’s training was confined to a single bullet point on a slide shown to new inspectors.

snapshot of Ruth Perry smiling in front of a bookshelf, resting her chin on her hand
Ruth Perry’s death ‘was a direct result of an Ofsted inspection’, her sister said. Photograph: University of Reading/PA

On Thursday, after the inquest’s conclusion, Spielman said: “We have started to develop training for all inspectors on recognising and responding to visible signs of anxiety.

“As a first step, we will delay our inspections next week by a day so we can bring all our lead school inspectors together ahead of further school inspections. As well as addressing the issue of anxiety, we will be clear with inspectors what to do if a pause is needed.”

The memo to lead inspectors sent on Friday reads: “This delay is to enable you, as a lead inspector, to attend a national briefing on Monday on recognising and responding to visible signs of anxiety, and what to do if a pause is needed on inspection. This briefing will be followed in the new year by more in-depth training on this issue for all inspectors.”

Ofsted said it did not wish to add to Spielman’s statement on Thursday.

Spielman steps down as chief inspector at the end of the year, to be replaced by Sir Martyn Oliver, a former headteacher and chief executive of the Outwood Grange multi-academy trust. Oliver has already scheduled a meeting with Waters to discuss changes to Ofsted’s inspection regime in the light of her sister’s death.

Staff who worked alongside Perry told the inquest that she was visibly distressed and at times unable to speak during the inspection of Caversham primary in Reading, while Ofsted’s lead inspector said she appeared “in physical pain” during meetings.

Adrian Lyons, who was an Ofsted inspector from 2005 to 2021, said he and other former colleagues had followed the inquest “with shock, and a large degree of disgust”.

Lyons said the role of Ofsted inspectors had changed in recent years to focus more on “delivering large volumes of inspections” and checking those of part-time inspectors, with a less experienced workforce.

#Ofsted #chief #quit #Ruth #Perrys #sister #briefing #memo #revealed #Ofsted

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