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NEWS: Sir Martyn Oliver begins term at Ofsted with mental health awareness training for inspectors

UPDATED 19/1/24

Sir Martyn Oliver begins term at Ofsted with mental health awareness training for inspectors.

The new His Majesty’s Chief Inspector begins with an immediate package of training for inspectors, a response to the Ruth Perry inquest and a Big Listen.

Sir Martyn Oliver will embark on a Big Listen with all sectors Ofsted inspects and regulates at the start of his tenure as His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills.

The Big Listen, to begin later this term, will allow Sir Martyn to hear directly from parents and professionals about the strengths and weaknesses of Ofsted’s current approach to inspection and regulation.

As an immediate priority, the new Chief Inspector will focus on Ofsted’s response to the coroner’s inquest into the tragic death of Ruth Perry.

Today, Sir Martyn has announced that routine school inspections in the spring term will begin later in January to accommodate mental health awareness training for inspectors in the first week of term.

Read the full press release here

PACEY along with other leading early years organisaitons has challenged Ofsted on this exclusion who have repsonded:

'As we are the regulator of early years (EY) settings, we are required to check that the registered provision continues to meet statutory requirements.

As detailed below, and the linked announcements, we are introducing several measures because of the coroner’s findings. We are continuing to review how we can improve our work. For example, we have brought forward the planned changes around our review of the complaints process. This gives the provider an opportunity to talk to a senior person at Ofsted if they have a concern during their inspection and / or the day after the inspection. Also, providers can still ask for a deferral in line with our published policy.

As confirmed in this latest announcement, early years inspectors will also have training on recognising and responding to visible signs of anxiety. We are also updating our inspection handbook to reflect the changes that we are making. '

UPDATE: Ofsted responds to Prevention of Future Deaths report

Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Sir Martyn Oliver, has today published Ofsted’s formal response, addressing each of the recommendations set out by the Coroner following the inquest into the death of headteacher Ruth Perry.

The letter sets out what action has been taken before and immediately after the inquest as well as what Ofsted proposes to do next, including:

  • all inspectors trained to recognise and respond to signs of distress in school leaders
  • a clear and simple process for providers who have concerns about an inspection to speak to an unconnected senior Ofsted employee
  • a new policy on pausing an inspection
  • an expert reference group, including external representation, to look at leader and staff wellbeing
  • appointing an independent expert to lead a learning review of Ofsted’s response to the tragic death of Ruth Perry

Sir Martyn will also conduct a comprehensive listening exercise, the Big Listen, across all the sectors that Ofsted works in.

The Big Listen will be an opportunity to hear directly from parents, leaders and professionals about Ofsted’s current approach, the changes being made, and whether more can be done to protect children, raise standards, and improve lives.

Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Sir Martyn Oliver, said:

As a fellow headteacher, I was shocked and saddened by the death of Ruth Perry. As the new Chief Inspector, I am determined to do everything in my power to prevent such tragedies in the future. We accept the Coroner’s findings and have responded to the recommendations of her report in full.

We must carry out our role in a way that is sensitive to the pressures faced by leaders and staff, without losing our focus on children and learners. Our critical work helps make sure that children and learners have the highest quality of education, training and care. We cannot afford to shy away from difficult decisions and challenging conversations where they are needed in the interests of children. I am determined that we get this delicate balance right.

We know we still need to do more, and we will do more. Nothing is off the table, as we hold our Big Listen. I know how important it is for the sectors we work with, and for parents and carers, to trust the judgements Ofsted makes. To achieve that aim, we must go about our vital work with professionalism, courtesy, empathy and respect.

Read the full response here.