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Director withdraws request for public support to help stop Ofsted inspection | ofste

A Berkshire head teacher who appealed on social media for support for her plan to stop Ofsted inspectors from visiting her school has withdrawn her request, asking people not to come to school, in the interest of children and staff.

Flora Cooper, executive director of the John Rankin Federation of Newbury Nursery, Infant and Junior Schools, tweeted earlier on Monday that Ofsted inspectors were due to visit on Tuesday morning.

She said she would not allow them into the premises following the death of Ruth Perry, who took her own life after a negative inspection, according to her family, and called on others to report to school and to offer their support.

The death of Perry, 53, a mother of two and headmistress of Caversham Primary School in Reading, has sparked a firestorm of social media protests among teachers and headmasters, many of whom are critical of Ofsted and would like to see it reformed. Labor has pledged to scrap the current grading system and replace it with a report card.

Cooper wrote on Twitter: “Just got the call. Refused entry. Doing this for everyone for our school staff everywhere! She called for outside support: ‘Can I please please bring everyone here tomorrow? Would you like to introduce yourself? John Rankin School, Newbury. She added: “Please! We must do this! I’m taking a stand!”

Later that day, Cooper sought to defuse the situation and tweeted, “Please people can’t come to school now in the morning. I have to protect our children, our staff and our community. Please for the protection of our children and staff.

Perry’s family said she took her own life in January while awaiting a report from Ofsted which downgraded her school from exceptional to the lowest possible grade. The inspection report concluded that the school was good in all categories except leadership and management, where it was found to be insufficient.

A petition calling for an investigation into the Caversham inspection has garnered over 39,000 signatures.

Perry’s sister, Julia Waters, told The Times: “Ruth killed herself because of this Ofsted report. Ruth just saw that single word “inadequate” as summing up everything she had ever achieved and it was meant for her. That’s how she felt and it just crushed her.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the National Education Union (NEU) on Monday called for a pause in all Ofsted inspections. NAHT General Secretary Paul Whiteman said: “The death of Ruth Perry is an indescribable tragedy and it is clear that school leaders across the country have been deeply touched by the news.

“It is clear that school leaders across the country are under intolerable pressure by the current approach. It can’t be right for us to treat dedicated professionals this way. Something has to change. While it never takes a tragedy like this to spur action, it must be a defining moment.

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the NEU, said: ‘The fact that they are phoning the leaders this week and launching inspections is a testament to Ofsted’s arrogance and absolute lack of empathy. It is an agency that is completely disconnected and makes statements and judgments that are unreliable. »

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), added: “We have seen a principal tweet his intention to refuse entry to an Ofsted inspection team, and that shows very clearly the strength of sentiment following the tragic death of Ms Perry.

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“Many school and college heads and their staff find Ofsted inspections and judgments very traumatic, which often affects their well-being. This case has brought things to a head and something has to change.

Katie Kearney and Chris Adams, co-chairs of the John Rankin Board, said: “We want to reassure the entire John Rankin community that, as always, we will act in the best interests of children and schools.”

Cooper was approached for comment.

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said it was a legal requirement for schools and nurseries to be inspected by Ofsted. “Inspections are hugely important as they hold schools accountable for their education standards and parents rely heavily on grades to give them confidence in choosing the right school for their child.

“We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Ruth Perry on her tragic death and continue to support Caversham Primary School at this difficult time.”


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