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Ofsted inspections to restart on January 22

Ofsted inspections will resume on January 22 after they were paused so inspectors could undergo mental health awareness training in the wake of Ruth Perry’s death.

Chief inspector Sir Martyn Oliver also said Ofsted will respond in full to the senior coroner Heidi Connor’s recommendations from Perry’s inquest on 19 January. 

The coroner last month ruled an Ofsted inspection in November 2022 contributed to the death by suicide of headteacher Ruth Perry in January last year. 

The leaders of headteacher unions the Association of School and College Leaders and the National Association of Head Teachers and Leora Cruddas, chief executive of the Confederation of School Trusts, will “provide constructive challenge as Ofsted responds to the coroner’s recommendations”. 

Ofsted said this engagement will continue following the publication of the response to the coroner.  

It added that by 22 January, all lead inspectors overseeing schools and further education inspections will have completed both sessions of the new mental health training.

Every inspector will have completed the training by the end of March.  

Ofsted has committed to publishing the mental health training.

It also wants to publish its response to the coroner’s report “as soon as it is completed, ensuring the whole profession can be reassured of the fullness of Ofsted’s response and Sir Martyn’s personal commitment to learn from the tragedy of Ruth Perry’s death”.  

Oliver said: “Inspection plays a vital role in making sure that children and learners are getting the education and care they need and deserve. So we need to get back to that work as quickly as we can.

“But I’ve also been very clear that we must reflect on the findings of the coroner, learn from the tragic events of last year, and emerge as a better and more effective inspectorate. That means being trusted by parents and respected by the education and social care professionals we work with. “

He said the awareness training was the “critical first step in reassuring the sectors we work with that we’re serious about change”.

He described the meetings this week, which included meeting Perry’s sister, as “constructive”.

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