Ruth Perry Obituary – Death: Headteacher Committed Suicide, cause of death
According to her family, Ruth Perry, the headteacher of Caversham Primary School in Reading, committed suicide while waiting for the school’s negative Ofsted report to be released. Perry had been the headteacher since 2010, but she resigned in January after learning that the school had been downgraded from excellent to unqualified. The family claims that the 53-year-old was still reeling from the test results, describing it as “the worst day of my life”. They said that inspectors decided to demote her after the first day of a two-day inspection for making unsubstantiated claims about the sexualization of children at the school.
The report was released this week, and it gave the school good marks in every category except leadership and management, which scored poorly. The report criticized the school for poor record-keeping, saying gaps in employment controls could put children at risk, bringing the entire school down to the lowest possible rating. The inspectors said that “the behavior of the majority of students was reasonable and lived up to the high expectations of staff” and that “students knew and had confidence in whom to turn to if they had concerns or questions.” However, they added that “leaders do not have the knowledge to protect students from harm” and that they fail to take timely and appropriate action when students are in danger. They did not ensure that protections were effective throughout the school.
Perry’s older sister, Julia, claimed that Perry was devastated by the test and that she took her own life on January 8, just over two months before the report was published. She said that Perry claimed Ofsted inspectors told officers and school administrators they saw a boy “using dental floss” – a dance move popular in the video game Fortnite – as evidence of the sexualization of children at the school. Inspectors allegedly told staff they saw child abuse, which Perry said was just a playground scuffle. This inspection was the first for the primary school in 13 years after the removal of the rules exempting outstanding schools from in-depth Ofsted scrutiny. Perry’s death has sparked grief among family, friends, colleagues, and the school community.