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Shoesmith chickens coming home to roost

Shoesmith-LoughboroughLoads more coverage in the papers today about Baby P social services chief Sharon Shoesmith, who is claiming her sacking was motivated by politics. But some Haringey residents remember her for other reasons…

As this BBC report makes clear Shoesmith provoked enormous controversy last year by suspending a popular headteacher of Britain’s first black-run school, the John Loughborough Seventh Day Adventist school.

Shoesmith’s actions provoked a storm of protests by parents, governors and pupils, who were upset at the removal of headteacher Dr June Alexis.

After the seemingly relentless campaign by Shoesmith to oust Dr Alexis, many black parents in the borough will have little sympathy with the ex-social services director, who may now be experiencing a similar sort of treatment to the kind she herself handed out.

The situation was made worse when Dr Alexis’ replacement, Laura Osei, who some regarded as a Shoesmith ‘stooge’, subsequently fell out with some parents.

Shoesmith’s intervention in John Loughborough school followed a moderate Ofsted inspection report, which put the school ahead of several other comprehensives in the borough but put the school ‘on notice’ that standards must improve.

Prior to that, governors had become concerned that the town hall had been applying pressure on a previously high-performing school to accept ever-larger numbers of black expelled pupils from other Haringey schools.

Haringey was accused of using John Loughborough as a “dumping ground”, which gave a green light to other schools to exclude pupils.

So whatever the rights and wrongs of Shoesmith’s sacking over the Baby P scandal, many black residents in the borough would like to hold her accountable for her dealings with John Loughborough school.

By Lester Holloway

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