Ulster born sacked Baby P head pleads victimisation

Newtownabbey- raised Sharon Shoesmith, the head of social services in Haringey, sacked over the shocking death of Baby P, has lashed out at the media and Children’s Secretary Ed Balls. She left without compensation and is now dependent on relatives.

In a Guardian interview, Shoesmith rejects suggestions, made by Ofsted chief Christine Gilbert in a Guardian interview in December, that Haringey had given inspectors false data to achieve a “good” annual assessment in November 2007. “I deeply objected to being called deceitful in the press … [when] I was completely unable to defend myself.”

Was part of her problem that her background was education rather than child care?

A clip of a radio interview with Shoesmith was used on the Today programme at 07.31. In the package, the chair of the Commons Children and Schools select committee Barry Sheerman says she has a grievance case but is attacking the wrong target.

The full version is carried on Radio 4 FM’s Weekend Woman’s Hour at 4 pm.

Shoesmith, who is from Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, began working with children when she was 15, helping in a residential home for special needs children. She left Northern Ireland when she was 20, after she was caught in a bombing of the Europa hotel, and worked as a special needs teacher, then as a director of special needs support services, and then as an Ofsted inspector, all over England. She was hired to run Haringey’s educational service, a job at which, according to an open letter later signed by 61 headteachers, she was “outstanding”.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

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