AN ‘enhanced investigation’ into the cause of death of a Caversham headteacher is still being considered, an inquest has heard.

A pre-inquest into the death of Caversham Primary School principal Ruth Perry took place on Tuesday afternoon (July 11).

Ms Perry took her own life on January 8 this year at the age of 53, shortly after being told her school was being downgraded from outstanding to inadequate after an Ofsted inspection.

READ MORE: Sentencing delayed for mum who lied to police to protect son involved in murder

Senior coroner Heidi Connor told the inquest she has not yet made a final decision on whether to make the inquest an ‘Article 2’ inquest.

An ‘Article 2’ inquest takes place in cases where the “State or 'its agents' have 'failed to protect the deceased against a human threat or other risk' or where there has been a death in custody”.

If engaged, it will mean that the state will have to carry out an 'enhanced investigation' into the death.

Mrs Connor said that though the Article 2 inquest has not been confirmed at the stage it does not mean it is ‘the end point’, adding it could be engaged at a later stage in the inquest process.

However, she told the court that she will not be 'investigating the inner workings of Ofsted’.

READ MORE: Teen guilty of sexual activity with a child has sentencing date moved

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

A representative for Ofsted asked that the inquest look into the safeguarding of the school which was marked as 'inadequate' by the education watchdog in the original report - it has since been upgraded to 'good'.

However, Mrs Connor said it would be 'difficult' and 'unfair' to investigate that side of the evidence 'without going into and investigating Ofsted and the decisions they made'.

Upon asking whether Ofsted had a system in place to support the wellbeing of headteachers after a report, the representative responded that Ofsted is 'not an employer' of the teachers.

Mrs Connor added that ‘quite a few’ members of public have written to her about their concerns with Ofsted inspections following Ms Perry’s death.

She said that the concerns would be ‘better addressed’ to The Education Committee, a Parliamentary committee which has launched an inquiry into Ofsted's work with schools.

The inquiry aims to assess how well Ofsted is fulfilling its role in inspecting schools and whether and how it could be improved, to inform the work of the incoming His Majesty's Chief Inspector.

READ MORE: In the Dock: Woman stole £920 worth of coats latest in court

People are able to submit their concerns to the committee until July 20. However, it has warned members of the public that it will not be investigating individual cases and ‘will not examine the events that preceded the death of Ruth Perry’.

The pre-inquest also listed the interested persons in the hearing, which means they have the right to be legally represented.

Those are Ms Perry’s family, Reading Borough Council, Caversham Primary School, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Ms Perry’s GP facility.

The next pre-inquest hearing is due to take place in October with a full inquest due to take place at the end of November/beginning of December.


Whatever you're going through, a Samaritan will face it with you. We're here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Call 116 123, email or visit