A popular Reading headteacher killed herself after worrying about a negative Ofsted report about her school, her family have said. 

Caversham Primary School principal Ruth Perry died on January 8 this year shortly after being told her school was being downgraded from outstanding to inadequate. 

The Ofsted inspection - the school's first in 13 years - took place on November 15 and 16 with Ms Perry allegedly telling her sister it was "the worst day of her life", describing the experience as "dreadful". 

Ms Perry had been headteacher at the Hemdean Road school since 2010 and was said to have been left a "shadow of her former self" as a result of the inspection. 

Her sister Julia told BBC South Ms Perry was counting down the days until the report was released. 

She told BBC South that inspectors said a boy doing a flossing dance move, from the video game Fortnite, was evidence of the sexualisation of children at the school.

She said: "All during that process [of awaiting publication of the report], every time I spoke to her she would talk about the countdown. I remember clearly one day her saying "52 days and counting". 

"Everyday 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.

"This one word judgement is just destroying 32 years of her vocation, education was her vocation. 32 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 and she was only 53, she had so much more still to give, so much more that she could do."

The school was criticised in the report, published this week, for poor record keeping and gaps in employment checks potentially putting children at risk. 

But the school was found to be good in every area apart from leadership and management which was deemed to be inadequate. 

Inspectors wrote: "Leaders do not have the required knowledge to keep pupils safe from harm. They have not taken prompt and proper actions when pupils are at risk. They have not ensured that safeguarding is effective throughout the school."

Speaking to BBC, her sister Julia said: "I said "It can't be that bad" and she said "yes it is, it's about as bad as it can be".

Caversham Primary School said in a letter in response to the report: “The school, led by Ruth, responded immediately after the inspection visit, to take action to resolve the issues raised.

“Following the heart-breaking loss of Ruth, we have continued her work to ensure that the school is an effective, safe and happy place for children to learn and achieve.”

Matthew Purves, Ofsted’s regional director for the South East, said: “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.”

Matt Rodda, a Labour MP for Reading East, said: “I’ve had a meeting with the schools minister and I’ve also raised this with the regional director of Ofsted.

“I think it’s fair to say that there are local concerns about the way that the inspection was carried out.

“Also about the way that the Ofsted framework and other regulations affecting Ofsted effectively work, and the wider pressure on headteachers.”

The Caversham community was left devastated by Ms Perry's sudden passing in January, with her family issuing a heartfelt tribute to her at he time.

Writing at the time, her family said: "We, Ruth’s family, are left devastated by the sudden loss of a lovely mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, sister-in-law and friend.

“She leaves a huge, aching gap in all our lives and, we know, in the lives of so many others who were lucky enough to know her.

“We are grateful to all our friends for their thoughts and support now and in the difficult years ahead. Ruth will be remembered as the kind, funny, confident, vivacious, caring person she was and for all that she achieved in life.

“We also ask those who did not know Ruth please to respect our privacy, as we come to terms with our unfathomable grief, and to consider carefully how their words and actions might impact on others.

“As the many tributes to her from the broader school and Caversham community attest, Ruth cared deeply not just about academic results, but also about the general well-being and happiness of the pupils and staff whom she taught and led.

“Caversham Primary was a very happy school under Ruth’s leadership and, despite the many challenges that always go with the role of Head, she was happy there too.

“Ruth was a dedicated headteacher and an excellent teacher.

“She loved the pupils and the staff of Caversham Primary School and was very proud to have been its headteacher for 12 years and previously deputy for four years.

“Ruth was a force for good in her life, and we want her to be a force for positive change after her death too.

“We would urge anyone who has been affected by her death to talk about their feelings and know that help is available. Local and national helplines, advice and support can be found on the Reading Family Information Service website.”