Parents hold vigil outside Ofsted in memory of head who took her own life after ... trends now
Parents held a vigil outside Ofsted's offices today following the suicide of a head teacher who was left devastated by the watchdog's downgrading of her school.
Mother-of-two Ruth Perry, 53, killed herself in January after Caversham Primary School in Reading was downgraded from outstanding to inadequate - an experience she called the worst day of her life.
Mrs Perry was the principal of the Berkshire school for 12 years, and it had been ranked 'outstanding' since 2009, before three Ofsted inspectors arrived last November 15.
It was Caversham's first inspection in 13 years as previously those which had been ranked so highly were exempt. Her sister Julia Walters has since called on parents of schoolchildren to 'destroy' the power of Ofsted by 'refusing its legitimacy'.
Protesters also descended on Westminster on Thursday to hand a petition calling for Ofsted to be axed - signed by 45,000 people - to the Department of Education.
Members of the National Education Union (NEU) were pictured carrying photos of Ms Perry while holding up signs reading: 'Time's up for Ofsted', and 'Ofsted not fit for purpose.'
Protesters descended on Westminster on Thursday to hand a petition calling for Ofsted to be axed - signed by 45,000 people - to the Department of Education
The sister of head teacher Ruth Perry, 53, (pictured) who 'took her own life over downgraded school report' has said parents must 'destroy horrible, inaccurate Ofsted'. Following an inspection in November, the mother-of-two killed herself in January, after the watchdog downgraded Caversham Primary School, in Reading, from outstanding to inadequate
The petition brands Ofsted an 'unfair and unreliable inspectorate' before quoting a 2017 report from the National Audit Office, which reads: 'Ofsted does not know whether its school inspections are having the intended impact: to raise the standards of education and improve the quality of children's and young people's lives.'
It claims the watchdog's rulings 'discriminate against schools in deprived areas' - by 'awarding ''outstanding'' grades to four times more secondary schools with better-off pupils than schools with students who are worse off.'
The document also accuses Ofsted of deterring teachers from working in disadvantaged areas as they fear lower rankings could negatively impact their career.
It then lists three demands, including replacing the body with a 'school accountability system which is supportive, effective and fair.'
It also calls on the government to 'work with teachers and leaders' to establish a 'commission to learn how school accountability is done in other high performing education nations.'
But the Department for Education maintains inspections are 'hugely important' and 'a legal requirement'.
It says they hold schools to account for their educational standards and 'parents greatly rely on the ratings to give them confidence in choosing the right school for their child'.
The petition to replace Ofsted was started before the death of Ms Perry, reports the BBC.
National Education Union (NEU) Deputy General Secretary Niamh Sweeney with members of the union hand in a petition which has been signed by 45,000 people to the Department for Education in Westminster, central London
People attend a vigil for Ruth Perry outside the offices of Ofsted in Victoria, central London on Thursday
Members of the National Education Union (NEU) led by Deputy General Secretary Niamh Sweeney, at Parliament Green, Westminster, before walking to the Department for Education to hand in a petition calling to reform Ofsted
People attend a vigil for Ruth Perry outside the offices of Ofsted in Victoria, central London, after she took her own life while waiting for a negative Ofsted inspection report
James Denny, a parent from Reading who organised the vigil outside Ofsted, said the fear of an inspection in the 1990s was memorable but that 'things have got so much worse since then.'
The tragedy of Ms Perry has led other schools to whitewash the inspectors' logos and references from their websites and letters as a mark of solidarity.
In Ofsted's final report of Caversham school, the reference to Ms Perry's death has been removed after the first copy read: 'There has been a change of leadership at the school following the death of the head teacher.'
The Telegraph reports that the change was made because of the 'sensitivities' around her death.
Teachers at a neighbouring school staged a silent protest reading 'RIP Ruth' outside school gates as Ofsted inspectors entered earlier this week.
Police stood outside John Rankin School in Newbury, Berkshire on Tuesday as inspectors from the watchdog arrived to carry out a review of the school which had threatened to deny them access.
Head teacher Flora Cooper had pledged to deny officials entry to John Rankin Schools in Newbury, Berkshire, in protest over the death Mrs Perry.
The solidarity with Mrs Perry has since become more widespread as some schools have begun removing logos and references to Ofsted ratings from their websites.
Headteachers are planning to stage peaceful protests - including wearing black clothing and armbands and displaying photographs of Ms Perry around the