A “caring” primary school headteacher took her own life after learning that Ofsted planned to downgrade her school from Outstanding to Inadequate, her family has said.
Ruth Perry, 53, was principal at Caversham Primary School in Reading for 13 years.
She was left a “shadow of her former self” after an inspection in November which she described as the “worst day of her life”, her family told the BBC.
The inspection on November 15 and 16 last year was the school’s first during Ms Perry’s time as leader, after rules around monitoring of Outstanding schools were changed.
On the first day, Ms Perry was told her school would be dropped from the highest grade to the lowest, her family said.
The report, which is now published, found the school to be Good in every category except leadership and management, where it accused the school of poor record keeping and failings in employment checks which could have put children at risk.
This meant the rating for the whole school was dropped to Inadequate.
Ofsted told staff they had seen a boy doing a dance popular on social media and viewed this as evidence of the sexualisation of pupils, the BBC reported.
It is also alleged that inspectors told staff they had seen child-on-child abuse, but Ms Perry believed this was merely a playground scuffle.
Ms Perry’s sister Julia called the process a “complete injustice”, and said the headteacher had a “weight hanging over her” while waiting for the report to be published.
During this time, Ms Perry took her own life on January 8.
Her sister told BBC South: “All during that process, every time I spoke to her she would talk about the countdown. I remember clearly one day her saying ‘52 days and counting’.
“’Every day she had this weight on her shoulders hanging over her and she wasn’t officially allowed to talk to her family.
“I remember the very first time I saw her rather than just speaking on the phone a couple of days after the end of the Ofsted inspection, she was an absolute shadow of her former self.”
She added: “This one word judgement is just destroying 32 years of her vocation. Education was her vocation. Thirty-two years summed up in one word, ‘inadequate’.
“It just preyed on her mind until she couldn’t take it anymore.
“She was a huge loss. She was my little sister… she was only 53, she had so much more still to give, so much more that she could do.”
Ofsted told BBC South: “We were deeply saddened by Ruth Perry’s tragic death. Our thoughts remain with Mrs Perry’s family, friends and everyone in the Caversham Primary School community.”