Tuesday 21 March 2023

Ofsted inspection at 'refuse entry' school goes ahead 'following discussions with the parties involved'. Petition calling for inquiry into Caversham Primary inspection takes off.


Staff stage silent protest outside John Rankin School this morning

Schools Week reported this morning LINK  that the Ofsted inspection of John Rankin School in Newbury will go ahead today despite the Executive Headteacher's statement yesterday that she would refuse entry to the inspection team:

Flora Cooper, executive headteacher at John Rankin Infant and Nursery School had originally called on other headteachers who want Ofsted reform to join the protest.

But yesterday afternoon, she asked them not to turn up. “I have to protect our children, our staff and our community,” she wrote on Twitter.

West Berkshire Council has now confirmed the inspection will go ahead “following discussions between the parties involved”.

The school said it could not comment.

The Department of Education (DfE) issued a statement yesterday, stressing the legal requirement of schools and nurseries to be inspected by Ofsted.

Under the Education Act, it is a criminal offence to intentionally obstruct inspectors from carrying out their duties, with a fine of up to £2,500.

However, it appears staff did hold a silent protest outside the school gates this morning.

Meanwhile a petition calling for an inquiry into the Ofsted inspection of the school where the headteacher took her own life has been gathering signatures. LINK

The petition reads:

Ruth Perry had been the headteacher at Caversham Primary School for 13 years when Ofsted visited her school on the 15 and 16 November 2022.  The experience drove her to sadly take her own life.

Ofsted need to force an inquiry into this inspection and review the actual inspection report that the school are now forced to have on their school website that callously and unnecessarily makes reference to Ruth’s death within it.

Ofsted inspections have evolved into such a monster that the mere thought of them causes fear, stress and anxiety to schools, school leadership and staff alike.  Actual inspections can leave staff in tears.  Many leaders leave the profession following an inspection because the stress caused by the inspection is simply too great and sadly some take their own life, like in the very sad case of Ruth Perry.

It shouldn’t be like that an Ofsted or equivalent inspection should be a supportive process and help the school to find the whys and support to work on the weakness an inspection shouldn’t seek to crush and destroy.  The Ofsted inspection should be there to ensure that children are looked after and taught in a safe environment and that the standards are in place for them to thrive and sometimes that means that the framework has to bend the framework has become unwieldy and cumbersome and inspectors have become less supportive and instead seek to trip schools up, terrorise and traumatise.  

Ofsted need to look into this case specifically, review the inspection and the actual wording of that report, what could have been done better.  

They also need to review the whole system, it isn’t working, inspections are too unwieldy and it takes too long to get through them leaving schools for too many years between inspections 3, 5, 10, 13 plus years is too long between inspections.  They need to be smarter, quicker and more supportive. 

Please take action now, sign the petition and let’s see if we can drive change so that the actions that Ruth Perry felt she had to take, never, ever happens again.

RIP Ruth Perry.

It appears that the published Ofsted report has already been modified:

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