Page last updated at 15:26 GMT, Saturday, 15 November 2008

Teachers backing Baby P director

Baby P
Baby P's father described him as an affectionate boy

More than 60 Haringey head teachers have joined forces to write a letter in support of the director of Haringey's Children and Young People's Service.

Sharon Shoesmith has come under increasing pressure to resign this week from her position after the tragic death of 17-month-old Baby P.

The child died in August 2007 after suffering sustained abuse.

The letter said Ms Shoesmith had "worked relentlessly" to ensure the best services for "all young people".

Alex Atherton, head teacher of Park View Academy in Haringey, told the News Channel: "I don't want to sound like a representative of the council but there are no schools in special measures in Haringey."

He added: "Results have doubled in seven years and I feel proud to be associated with the education support that Haringey offers and I know a lot of my colleagues do."

Mr Atherton said she was 'outstanding'

Two men and Baby P's mother have been convicted of involvement in his death and are to be sentenced on 15 December.

Old Bailey Judge Stephen Kramer told the 27-year-old mother and her 32-year-old boyfriend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and Jason Owen, 36, that they faced "substantial" terms in prison.

The boy, from Haringey, north London, suffered 50 injuries, and the case revealed a series of failings by social workers, health workers and police.

An internal inquiry by Haringey's Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) blamed legal advice taken a week before the baby's death for the decision not to take him into care.

It found "numerous examples" of good practice in the case although there had been "weaknesses" in information flow.

...the service she leads and develops ensures best practice in providing education, care, support...
An extract from the letter

Ms Shoesmith, chair of the board, said: "The very sad fact is that we can't stop people who are determined to kill children."

She insisted lessons had been learned since the death of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie, murdered by her great-aunt and a partner, in 2000.

The letter from the head teachers in support of Ms Shoesmith said they considered her to "be an outstanding public servant" and they were compelled to show their support for her.

They added: "Should the Child P case result in her loss from the borough, then our children and young people will lose one of their most effective, determined and committed champions."

The letter was written by the head teachers of 61 state-funded primary schools and seven secondary schools.

It read that Ms Shoesmith had "transformed a demoralised education service" and that since becoming the director of Haringey's Children and Young People's Service, she had "continued to work relentlessly and with a determination that the service she leads and develops ensures best practice in providing education, care, support and protection for all of our young people."

One of Ms Shoesmith's daughters told Radio 4's Any Answers programme: "Finding one individual and hunting that individual down, going through private photographs and printing them and making one person out to be the scapegoat for this entire tragedy is so counter-productive."

Meanwhile Baby P's natural father, who also cannot be named, paid tribute to the police for their part in bringing the case to court as well as the social workers who had been involved since his son's death, who he described as acting with "professionalism and courtesy".

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Telegraph Baby P: Ministers were warned of babies at risk - 50 mins ago
Washington Post Britain in Shock Over Abuse Death of Toddler - 1 hr ago
Telegraph Baby P: Ministers were warned babies were at risk - 1 hr ago
Sky News Whistleblower Warned Of Failings - 2 hrs ago
Sky News Haringey Alert Was Issued - 2 hrs ago



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