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Islington Tribune - by ROISIN GADELRAB
Published: 12 June 2009
Recruitment probe ‘whitewash’

AN inquiry into safe recruiting of staff at Islington’s schools has been branded a “whitewash” even though the results are not due to be published until next week.
The inquiry, which will be made public at next Thursday’s executive meeting, follows revelations reported exclusively in the Tribune that there were failings in the way staff were recruited at Canonbury Primary School as far back as 2005.
Twelve governors at Canonbury quit last term for fear they were being scapegoated for the mistakes.
The headteacher of the school has since been sacked for gross misconduct but has lodged an appeal.
One other teacher was dismissed last year.
Opposition Labour leader councillor Catherine West has condemned the inquiry for being “too weak” and dodging the vital question of how things went wrong, who is responsible and for not looking closely at Canonbury.
Former council leader James Kempton ordered Janet Mokades, the Independent Chairwoman of Islington Safeguarding Children’s Board (ISCB), to look at current practices and responsibilites of all involved in school recruitment.
Cllr West said: “The terms of reference are quite weak and I fear a whitewash. I’m concerned not enough is being done to look at Canonbury and what went wrong there. It’s a very general inquiry. They are just dodging the question of what happened to make the safety of children at risk.”
She added: “If you don’t look at what happened, you can’t see the truth.”
Cllr West also wants the inquiry to include information attached in three confidential reports seen by the Press but blocked from publication by an injunction.
Lib Dem education chief Cllr Paula Belford said: “We’re not trying to cover anything up. There would be no point, it’s too public.
“James [Kempton] commissioned the report and provided the terms of reference and it’s important we look at all schools, Canonbury included.”
She added: “I’m expecting recommendations will come from this report, which we will look at closely, and I’m pretty certain it will go to the children’s board for more scrutiny.”

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