I’ve written so much about Ofsted over the years detailing my issues with the whole regime: the fundamental weak validity of inspection, the toxic impact of the inadequate grade and, of course, my own personal experience. More recently I’ve tried to leave it alone and, in my work, I hardly ever mention them.
I just focus on the stuff schools and teachers do day in day out and would still do in any context just to improve teaching and learning. I decline any work that explicitly requires reference to the Ofsted framework – I’m not interested in perpetuating the hoop jumping.
Now, in the wake of the tragic death of Ruth Perry, fresh momentum is building around the urgent need for reform. It’s worth restating that we know suicide is complex (everyone understands that). However, at the same time, even if a person has mental health vulnerabilities due to multiple or non-specific factors, it’s reasonable to address the likelihood that the experience of a brutal Ofsted judgement has been a contributory factor when their own family is making that direct link.
The discourse makes some feel uncomfortable – but that’s nothing compared to the anguish expressed by Ruth’s sister in the news report. At the very least, given what has happened to Ruth Perry, this issue demands our attention; it requires us to ask some hard questions about how our inspection regime might impact people.