Mental health training ordered for school inspectors after teacher suicide | UK | News

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Mental health training ordered for school inspectors after teacher suicide | UK | News

And investigations into the standard of teaching in England are to be delayed until after the training is completed, the watchdog’s new chief inspector has announced.

Sir Martyn Oliver issued a statement about the delay – which had been demanded by teaching unions – yesterday (Tues).
Daniel Kebede, general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“This pause should be the start of a root and branch reform of school inspection.

“Our present system is inconsistent, unfair and unsuccessful in promoting school improvement.

“Ofsted is a harmful presence in our schools and needs to be replaced with a collaborative system that truly reflects a rounded picture of the work of schools.”

The new measures come following the inquest into the death of headteacher Ruth Perry.

Mrs Perry killed herself after an Ofsted report downgraded her Caversham Primary School in Reading from its highest rating to its lowest over safeguarding concerns.

Last month, senior coroner Heidi Connor concluded that the Ofsted inspection on November 15 and 16 in 2022 “likely contributed” to Mrs Perry’s death.

Next week inspectors will receive training from Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England who will then lead an ongoing programme of further mental health awareness training for all inspectors.

The Ofsted chief will also contact parents and education professionals about the watchdog’s approach to inspections as part of The Big Listen which will begin later this term.

The earliest school inspections will start again is at the end of January.

Sir Martyn, who used to be chief executive of Outwood Grange Academies Trust, said: “Over the last year, since the tragic death of Ruth Perry, our inspections have come under great scrutiny.

“I’m determined that we learn from this to improve the way we work and respond fully to the coroner’s inquest, taking tangible actions to address the concerns raised.

“A lot has been done already, but a lot more can be done now – starting with a robust programme of mental health awareness training for all our inspectors.

“Along with immediate training on mental health awareness, one of the first things I want to do is listen – to parents, to professionals in the sectors we work with, and to people with an interest in our work.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Allowing time for training is a positive signal.

“Next, Sir Martyn needs to agree with the profession immediate steps that will bring sufficient confidence to allow time to develop much-needed long-term reform.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “The announcement should pave the way for Ofsted to fully address each area of concern raised by the coroner, but it must also set Ofsted on a path of wider reform in the long term – including the removal of single-phrase judgments.”

Sir Martyn will focus on Ofsted’s response to the coroner’s inquest into the death of Mrs Perry and will respond to the coroner’s findings in the coming weeks, he said.

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