Department for Education
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Government responds to recommendations from Ruth Perry’s inquest

The Department for Education has sent the coroner its response to the regulation 28 prevention of future deaths report, following headteacher Ruth Perry’s inquest.

Work is ongoing between the department, Ofsted, local authorities and trusts to ensure all headteachers are supported during the inspection process. There is also a further commitment to ensure schools and inspectors are aware of the wellbeing help headteachers can access, including the recently expanded £1.5 million wellbeing support

Alongside this, the department is committed to helping to avoid future tragedies through working with local authorities and school trusts to ensure that appropriate support is made available to school leaders following an adverse inspection result.

The department is committed to working with Ofsted to review how judgements are made for schools that are found to be inadequate solely on safeguarding grounds, as Caversham Primary School was. Where the safeguarding issues are shown to have been resolved quickly, no further intervention will take place.

Safeguarding guidance in the department will also be reviewed and a call for evidence will be launched in the spring, asking the sector for views on how to go further to support school leaders on safeguarding. 

Two years ago, the department for education launched the Education Staff Wellbeing Charter - a public commitment to the wellbeing and mental health of everyone working in education. 

As part of this, the expansion of the wellbeing support is new investment to deliver a 3-year mental health and wellbeing support package for school and college leaders, providing professional supervision and counselling to at least 2,500 leaders. In addition, the Education Support which provides wellbeing help for school leaders was this year doubled in size to support an additional 500 heads by March 2024. 

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said:

Ruth Perry’s death was a tragedy and the coroner’s findings made clear that lessons need to be learned. 

That’s why I have worked closely with Ruth Perry’s sister, former colleagues and friends over the past year, to listen and make important changes to inspections with Ofsted to secure a legacy for Ruth.

We are working to ensure inspections keep children safe, whilst also prioritising the safety and wellbeing of school leaders serving in our schools through expanded wellbeing support for leaders.

I hope lots of teachers and parents take part in Ofsted’s Big Listen to further evolve inspection practice so Ofsted continues to drive up school standards.

Notes for Editors

Read DfE's response letter to recommendations from Ruth Perry’s inquest (PDF, 393 KB, 7 pages).

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