Saturday, October 09, 2010

‘Blairite’ Headteacher with damning Ofsted inspection publicly rebukes her Tory deputy

If His Grace did not know that Dr Irene Bishop, the Executive Headteacher of St Michael and All Angels Church of England Academy, were so committed to the principle of absolute political 'neutrality' in education, he might easily be persuaded of the view that she was persecuting Ms Katharine Birbalsingh for her political beliefs.

In an astonishing development, Dr Bishop has authorised a very public rebuke of her deputy, which casts not inconsiderable doubt about the future of their working relationship.

Indeed, it appears to have ‘broken down’.


The fate of Ms Birbalsingh may not be quite as clear as some sections of the media have made out. The Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and Guardian have all indicated that Ms Birbalsingh is permitted to return to work on Monday and that the matter is therefore closed.

In an attempt to deflate the pantomime and mitigate the furore which has ensued as a result of their decision to ‘suspend’ Ms Birbalsingh from her professional duties and the pursuit of her vocation, the academy’s sponsors, Southwark Diocesan Board of Education, issued the following statement to the media:

Katharine Birbalsingh has been a Deputy Head at St Michael and All Angels Academy since September.

Her speech at the Conservative Party Conference used pictures of children from our school and made reference to them by name. We are concerned by this and in particular by the way in which the pictures have been used.

Teachers will always have opinions about the ways in which schools should be run. Some teachers may agree with some of the points made by Ms Birbalsingh and some may disagree. Our concern is that the position of the Academy should not be misrepresented. Generalisations about teachers and schools can be seen as insulting to many teachers who have worked hard to make a difference to the lives of the young people in their care. We and all schools have high aspirations for our young people whatever their backgrounds.

Miss Birbalsingh was asked to work at home on Thursday and Friday and will return to work next week.
His Grace has quite a few problems with this. Indeed, Dr Irene Bishop and the academy’s Chair of Governors, Canon Peter Clark, have quite possibly inadvertently just ensured that this pantomime plays into a second act with an encore.

Ms Birbalsingh is a very experienced teacher: she has been an assistant principal for many years and was promoted to the position of deputy headteacher in September.

Media reports now indicate that she had secured permission from her headteacher to attend the conference and to address it. It is also widely reported that she had secured the necessary permissions from her students and their parents to refer to the children by name.

What is inconceivable to His Grace is that Ms Birbalsingh had not also secured the permission of her headteacher to use these photographs.

The statement of the Diocese does not indicate that she had secured that permission. Indeed, it rather suggests that she had not.

If it transpires that Ms Birbalsingh had indeed informed her headteacher and permission had been granted for these photographs to be used, then the omission of that salient fact from this press release is evidence of collusion and cover-up: the Diocese has deceived by omission.

It would be a resigning matter for either the Headteacher or the academy’s Chair of Governors or both.

Further, Ms Birbalsingh had been instructed to ‘stay at home’ for two days. The natural inference is that she had done something which merited this ‘suspension’. Since her speech at the Conservative Party conference has gone viral (due, in large part, to Dr Bishop’s crass handling of this situation), staff, students and parents will now all be persuaded of the view that Ms Birbalsingh is guilty of misconduct, indeed ‘gross misconduct’, since only gross misconduct merits being instructed to leave the school premises immediately and to ‘work from home’.

Such a suspension, however informal, is not necessarily 'neutral'.

His Grace refers to the judgement of Lord Justice Sedley in the 2007 case of Mezey v. South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust. Counsel in that case submitted to the Court of Appeal that suspension was a ‘neutral’ act. Lord Justice Sedley gave judgement on behalf of the Court and responding to Counsel’s submission, said: “I venture to disagree, at least in relation to the employment of a qualified professional in a function which is as much a vocation as a job. Suspension changes the status quo from work to no work, and it inevitably casts a shadow over the employee's competence. Of course this does not mean that it cannot be done, but it is not a neutral act.

Ms Birbalsingh may be justifiably concerned about the shadow that was cast over her competence and character by her ‘suspension’.

It is clear from all the press reports that Ms Birbalsingh is fiercely defending her school and its reputation.

Yet there is no reciprocity of respect in this statement.

Indeed, it rather sounds as though Dr Irene Bishop and/or the Chair of Governors have decided to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Ms Birbalsingh, because the wording of this statement indicates that they consider either that she has brought the academy into disrepute or that she may be guilty of breaching child protection guidelines by the unauthorised use of children’s photographs, or both.

It is not Ms Birbalsingh’s alleged misconduct which has compromised her position, but this rather public humiliation of a senior member of staff. Indeed, it might even be defamatory.

But let’s come to the political persecution.

Dr Irene Bishop and Canon Peter Clark accuse Ms Birbalsingh of making ‘generalisations about teachers and schools’ which ‘can be seen as insulting to many teachers who have worked hard to make a difference to the lives of the young people in their care’. They assert: ‘We and all schools have high aspirations for our young people whatever their backgrounds.’

Ms Birbalsingh is at liberty to state her opinion. Whether or not she generalised in order to make her political point is irrelevant: indeed, it is difficult to make a political point in a three-minute speech without generalisation.

But the Diocese statement itself is a generalisation.

Ms Birbalsingh’s observations of state education might indeed be ‘insulting to may teachers’, but equally so might her comments be seen as inspirational.

And it is bizarre that they presume to speak (generally) on behalf of the ‘high aspirations’ of ‘all schools’, as though these were beyond question.

Let us examine the (very recent) Ofsted report for St Michael and All Angels CofE Academy.

Only five months ago, this school was graded ‘4’ in its overall effectiveness.

In Ofsted grading: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is satisfactory, and 4 is inadequate.

Its capacity for sustained improvement was graded ‘3’.

Her Majesty's Chief Inspector was of the opinion that this school ‘requires significant improvement, because it is performing significantly less well than in all the circumstances it could reasonably be expected to perform. The school is therefore given a notice to improve’.

While teaching and learning were improving, it was judged that ‘the sixth form curriculum is preventing students from accessing a range of courses that meet their needs, interests and aspirations, and is therefore inadequate’.

The school is a failing school. It needs leaders like Ms Birbalsingh.

Its educational outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils was grade ‘4’.

This is hardly surprising when inspectors found evidence of ‘inadequate’ teaching.

Pupil achievement and enjoyment was graded ’3’, apparently due in large part to pupils’ overall behaviour being graded ‘4’.

The ‘effectiveness’ of the leadership and management of the school (prior to Ms Birbalsingh’s appointment and that of Dr Bishop) was graded ‘3’.

Is this what Dr Bishop means by 'high aspirations' in 'all schools'?

Clearly, her predecessor was found wanting.

One must remember that this ‘effectiveness’ is not a measure of raw results, value-added or other outcomes, but of the knowledge the leadership have of their own school and their strategy for school improvement.

This, say Ofsted, is only ‘satisfactory’.

As is the level of support and challenge provided by the Governing Body.

Most damning for the Governors and Sponsors of the school is that Ofsted graded them ‘4’ in ‘the effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money'.

While Dr Bishop rebukes Ms Birbalsingh for 'insulting teachers', it would appear that the Southwark Diocesan Board of Education deserves to be exposed for their managerial incompetence, the misuse of public money and rank hypocrisy.

Ms Birbalsingh exposed all of these failings (and more) as being endemic within the state secondary system, and she did so with incisive and damning precision. She did not name her new school: indeed, insofar as she had only worked there for three weeks, she could not in any credible sense be accused of having ‘misrepresented’ the position of this academy, as alleged.

However, Dr Irene Bishop and Canon Peter Clark appear to have misrepresented and defamed Ms Birbalsingh.

Someone’s position is becoming untenable.

And it is not Ms Birbalsingh’s.

His Grace refers his readers and comminicants (again) to the Facebook campaign: the battle for vindication has only just begun.


Anonymous Mike Stallard said...

I have written personally by e mail to Dr Bishop and told her in no uncertain terms that what she has done is in no sense Christian because it denies Truth which is one of the central teachings of the Faith.
I suggest that instead of posting stuff, other people might like to tell Dr Bishop what they personally think of her behaviour:

fao Dr Bishop.

9 October 2010 at 12:39  
Blogger Gnostic said...

It was high time someone broke the crust covering this particular cesspit. And look what floated to the top.

9 October 2010 at 13:08  
Anonymous len said...

I think the Board and Dr Bishop are still 'gunning 'for Ms Birbalsingh.Perhaps using the incompatibility charge to transfer Ms Birbalsingh if the other allegations fail. . If they(The Board and Dr Bishop) have colluded together to oust Ms Birbalsingh on the (false?) allegation of speaking without permission of the School or the parents this will have serious implications.
I don`t think we have heard the last of this one!

9 October 2010 at 13:12  
Blogger OldSlaughter said...

Your Grace,

One could not hope for a more reasoned and fair advocate. Ms Birbalsingh, as well as being all the things you describe her, is highly fortunate that you are in her corner.
Well done for your work these last few days and I only hope that if I am ever in a similar pickle I would have a friend such as you to defend me.

The common discourse is better for your return.

Best Wishes.

9 October 2010 at 13:47  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

Southwark Diocesan Board of Education has said to the media:

‘Generalisations about teachers and schools can be seen as insulting…’

Was the Deputy Head ‘suspended’ because of the risk that somebody might see her remarks as ‘insulting’?

I could understand it if the Southwark Diocesan Board of Education was a governmental authority in North Korea – but this is Britain – once the home of democracy and due process.

They go on to state: ‘We and all schools have high aspirations for our young people whatever their backgrounds.’

Has the Southwark Diocesan Board of Education had its authority extended to cover Great Britain and Northern Ireland?

You are right: ‘…only gross misconduct merits being instructed to leave the school premises immediately and to ‘work from home’.’

You state: ‘If it transpires that Ms Birbalsingh had indeed informed her headteacher and permission had been granted for these photographs to be used, then the omission of that salient fact from this press release is evidence of collusion and cover-up: the Diocese has deceived by omission.’

And many will agree: ‘It would be a resigning matter for either the Headteacher or the academy’s Chair of Governors or both.’

Once the resignations have been tendered and (or) accpeted: there needs to be a call for a public inquiry.

This is necessary because we cannot tolerate some or even the majority of teachers working in fear: that will affect our children’s schooling.

9 October 2010 at 13:55  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Storm in a teacup.

9 October 2010 at 13:57  
Anonymous gyges said...

"Her speech at the Conservative Party Conference used pictures of children from our school and made reference to them by name. We are concerned by this and in particular by the way in which the pictures have been used."

This is what I thought as soon as I saw her speech; further, throughout his Grace's posts on this matter I have consistently made comments to this effect.

What she did was a breach of confidence.

One other commentator picked up on what I said and expressed the opinion that there is not a relationship of confidence between teacher and pupil. The commentator went on to explain that a duty of confidence could not arise because there were other children in the class room at the time that the words were spoken by the children.

I disagree with this argument. Confidence arises between the teacher and pupil/pupils. If a pupil takes a photograph of another pupil answering a question and puts this picture on Facebook/bebo with a caption ridiculing the other pupils attempt to answer the question. Eg, 'Look at John not being able to add up two and two'; this would be a breach of confidence.

This is what Ms Birbalsingh appears to have done. If I were a parent of one of the pupils whose picture she displayed along with the comments she made, I would be incensed. I would be speaking to lawyers. I would believe that I had a cause of action against her and against the school.

His Grace's says,

"It is also widely reported that she had secured the necessary permissions from her students and their parents to refer to the children by name."

If true this certainly undermines the case against her; at least, one brought by the parents.

This is the question upon which everything hangs.

If this is true and whoever suspended Ms Birbalsingh was aware of this fact then the tables are turned. Ms Birbalsingh may need to think about misfeasance in public office: she may have a cause of action.

His Grace talks about second acts and encores. One of the pantomine characters that, theoretically, could enter the stage is the official solicitor. Assuming the pupils and parents gave consent; then the official solicitor may argue that this consent was not in the best interests of the children. The children's parents, by giving this consent, were not acting in the best interests of the children; whilst the pupils did not have sufficient capacity to make the decision.

What a mess.

The root of this is the breach of confidence. I thought it happened. I thought I saw it. If so, Ms Birbalsingh and the school are liable; whether or not there will be any claims against them is another matter.

Why did she need to use pictures of real pupils?

9 October 2010 at 14:01  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

What is inconceivable to His Grace is that Ms Birbalsingh had not also secured the permission of her headteacher to use these photographs.

As someone who has had the most fulfilling of relationships with Ms Birbalsingh, Your Grace is in a position to ask the good lady if she had obtained the permission of all concerned.

I have much sympathy for Ms Birbalsingh but I do wonder whether she was wise to involve her pupils, even with their permission.

9 October 2010 at 14:04  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Gyges,

Your observations have been perceptive throughout.

His Grace has made enquiries of Dr Bishop to determine precisely what permissions had been granted to Ms Birbalsingh and with what (if any) advanced consent she was acting.

He awaits her response.

But will not be greatly patient.

9 October 2010 at 14:09  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Manfarang says dismissively, "Storm in a teacup".

To Manfarang, no doubt, but not to the person chiefly concerned.

Miss Birbalsingh's chief offence is her excellence, so that some of those round her, rather than drawing inspiration, resent her for showing them up.

9 October 2010 at 14:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the school is subject to Freedome of Information requests? Might be fun!

9 October 2010 at 14:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a friend of Katharine's. Just to clear up any misunderstanding: she had permission from the head and written permission from the parents. On top of that she rang each parent the weekend before the conference to confirm that they agreed. She is a professional and cares about children. She would never do anything without the permission of the parents.

9 October 2010 at 14:54  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

If Anon @14.54 would care to email His Grace (address top right) and identify yourself, he would be appreciative.

9 October 2010 at 14:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same friend here again. I should have said that the reason she used the photos was to show how cute the kids are and to make them real. She is aware that they are often vilified and imagined as thugs. She wanted to give them a human face.

9 October 2010 at 15:06  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

Someone needs to advise Dr Bishop that someone with whom she might have fellow feeling once advised "When you are in a hole- stop digging".

9 October 2010 at 15:22  
Blogger Unsworth said...

It's not clear whether Canon Clark was consulted by Dr Bishop prior to her decision to send this teacher home. In the light of this ongoing furore, any Governor worth his/her salt would now be demanding an Extraordinary Meeting of Governors with a view to establishing what exactly has been going on.

The Chair of Governors has (and with profound stupidity) placed himself and his school in a very difficult position. His powers are only those of a servant of his Committee, (unless his fellows have - quite remarkably - delegated all to him) and to act on their behalf and as they would wish. There does seem to be a degree of collusion between these two people which may or may not be with the full and knowing approval of the Governing Body. However it's clear that to date the Governing Body as a whole has not made - or supported - this decision. Where are the Minutes?

As I have said before, the Head may (just!) be acting within her Terms. The Chair of Governors clearly feels he should support the Head, but apparently without consulting his colleagues. That is perhaps understandable, but it is very unwise. It's not the Chair's job to support the Head, it's the Chair's job to support the Governors (the full Governing Body, in this case) and to carry out their wishes. Is he actually doing that?

The Diocesan Board has also particularly ineptly entered the fray. ‘Generalisations about teachers and schools can be seen as insulting…’? Indeed they can - they can also be seen as accurate and wise descriptions of common failure (or, even, success). So, the Diocesan Board feels - obviously - that it would prefer not to talk about general matters but about specifics. Well, if that is so, what exactly is the Board's position with regard to these particular events and actions?

Finally: Does this Diocesan Board deem that it has the right to speak on behalf of all schools and their governors? Why? Such a statement can itself be seen as 'generalisation'. I can tell you that this Southwark Diocesan Board most certainly does not speak on my behalf, or those of my splendid fellow Governors. We are made of much tougher, more independent (and, please God, wiser) stuff than these cretinous incompetent apologists for inexcusable behaviour and management failure.

9 October 2010 at 15:40  
Blogger Unsworth said...

Your Grace

A small technical point, but which has some relevance. An HMI grading of 'satisfactory' means that the school meets the 'required standards' - no more, no less. Whether those standards are adequate is another matter, of course. Further, schools have tended to teach and work to HMI parameters in recent years (Teaching to the Test, in common parlance). It is debatable as to whether this is of any real benefit to pupils. Frankly I feel that Teaching to the Test is a complete cop out, but it has arisen because of the oppressive and useless imposition of meaningless 'targets' in recent years.

Are we looking for a sound, rounded education, developing pupils' skills and character to the best of our ability - or one in which The State clones generations of drones?

9 October 2010 at 16:00  
Anonymous "Epictetus" said...

Dr Bishop and the governors of the school, who number four clerics among them, seem to be bearing false witness against one of their teachers. But then it has for many years been quite unclear in what sense the Diocese of Southwark is part of the Church.

Do we know in what subject, and from what university, Dr. Bishop was granted her doctorate? I would very much like to know because so that I can put out of my mind the feeling or fantasies that too many other head teachers in failing schools have PhDs in Byzantine Politics or Cretan Epistemology and Logic, or possibly Nasal Merdaology.

It is now unquestionably a matter of public interest to know what Dr. Bishop's track record is, how many hours each week she spends at the school from which she has suspended Katherine, and whether the governors of the school are fit and proper people to act as governors. If this school was a bank, its governors would be the board of Northern Rock.


9 October 2010 at 17:02  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Ok guys I admit it I made the wrong call on this one (my comments on the previous blog) Thanks again Cranmer for your research, it has helped change my mind.

9 October 2010 at 17:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Graham, It is lovely to see someone on the web agree that research and facts changed their mind. Very unusual. Well done. Can I echo His Grace's comments and direct everyone to the FaceBook page?

9 October 2010 at 17:16  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Oh, thank you Epictetus: the Diocese of Southwark!! I was horrified to find that another Bishop there is utterly marxist in 'theoretical' approach: though he denies that he is communist. Furthermore, when my reading of a text revealed its marxist tendencies, he turned vicious, deliberately misinterpreting everything I said, denigrating my educational background, and dubbing me paranoid, to boot.

Indeed, Southwark sounds like a good place to leave - on a pilgrimage in the right direction. I wish my friend Geoffrey would resuscitate himself, and join Your Grace in this campaign! (btw: I wonder where his Eagle went).

wv: cross

9 October 2010 at 17:56  
Blogger OldSouth said...

The Ofsted report does truly place the head's behavior in context, does it not?

A couple of thoughts float to the surface from the Colonies:

1. If the parents consented, and they are the legal guardians of their children, then the school's pounding of the point rings a bit hollow.

2. If Ms. Birbalsingh had attended another conference, and proclaimed the standard socialist cant about education, would she have arrived home to such a chilly reception, pictures or no?

3. What is not being addressed in any meaningful way is the actual content of her speech. Is she telling the truth, describing the situation accurately? If not, then effectively refute, point by point, and discredit her argument. If so, then repent, and in Christian humility by the grace of the Almighty, set about the task of setting things right. Easy-peasy, no nuance here.

4. If need be, write the lady a letter to remind her not to use pictures of students in future public presentations sans clearance, and then create a body of 'approved' photography that can be employed--easy-peasy.

5. If she is right in her assertions, embrace her, and put her by-gosh-and-golly in charge of the cleanup, as she has a clear handle on at least where to begin. Otherwise, we have a situation where the school is identified as a place where no good deed goes unpunished.

OS speaks as one who was forced to withdraw and home-school a child, because the local school system was (and is) an abject failure. It graduates only 50% of the students who enter its front door in the ninth grade, and has no idea where the other 50% end up. Of those who graduate, only about 10% complete a bachelors degree. Only a handful of that group ever complete a master's degree.

Home-schooling worked well, but the family had to change everything about its life to pull it off, and keep paying the taxes (ever rising) to the county to prop up the travesty purporting to educate the children of the county.


And ThePeopleInChargeOfSuchAFailure have the balls to persecute those who dare point out the obvious.

Go git-'em, Your Grace. OS is too boiling mad to be of any real use. You have the gift of words.

Go git-'em!

9 October 2010 at 18:51  
Blogger Unsworth said...

@ Graham Davis

Welcome to the real world of 'Education x 3' in modern England. I take it you're now relatively content for me to remain a Governor...

9 October 2010 at 18:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Old South. Exactly! Why won't anyone who doesn't support Katharine talk about the issues? They all go immediately to the photos or proclaim their surprise that she had time to attend a conference.

9 October 2010 at 19:03  
Blogger Oswin said...

If ALL requisite permissions were granted; then 'Miss Snuffy' has no case to answer. If this is indeed the case; then Dr.Bishop DOES have questions to answer!

9 October 2010 at 19:14  
Blogger tonyoz said...

Did your member of parliament live in the constituency for many years before being elected? Or, like most others, were they posted in from far flung places in the UK to stand for parliament over and above anyone in the constituency with long lineage who could stand instead?

The method of selection of candidates by the main political parties in this country is lacking in democracy at the very least. We need a different method of selecting candidates to stand in an election, one where the prospective candidate has lived in the constituency for a minimum of ten years, and has a lineage in this country going back to at least their grandparents, before they are eligible for an office such as local council or parliament.

The local political parties should not be able to nominate anyone this is where the corruption starts. A local constituents would sign up at the town hall to stand in their constituency and they can align with a political party. Many other constituents may do the same.

They would give a speech at the town hall stating their aims and why they are the best candidate for the job as m.p for the area.

On polling day one candidate will be the winner - at least they will be a local constituent not like we have at the moment all millionaires in the parliament playing at politics and never done a job of work in their lives.

Their money gets them into the local party, their donations get them nominated for parliament - totally un-democratic.

The constitution has got to be changed to not let this happen ever again.

Rant on:-

9 October 2010 at 19:20  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

So to summarise:

1. The deputy head teacher of a school has been ill treated because she is a Tory?!?

2. The head teacher is an uber socialist/Blairite, who believes in political 'neutrality'(providing your a socialist??)

3 This is a Church of England School?

My God, what has this country become -North Korea????

9 October 2010 at 19:26  
Blogger Oswin said...

Bishops 1 Archbishops 2

A good result Your Grace!

9 October 2010 at 19:31  
Blogger PJH said...

Your Grace,

"Dr Bishop "

One wonders if said headmaster may elect to become a member of judicery(sp), and become Judge Doctor Bishop.

Then subsequently enter into the clergy as The most Reverand Judge Doctor Bishop.

Then, after passing flight tests become Flight Lieutenant Most Reverand Judge Doctor Bishop.

But I digress...

9 October 2010 at 20:06  
Anonymous tallytory said...

The Angel told Daniel: "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book." [Daniel 12.1]

The Angel spoke of the end, after the time "that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up." [Daniel 12.11]

9 October 2010 at 21:43  
Anonymous JayBee said...

Those who dig graves for others can end up buried in them.

9 October 2010 at 21:44  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Oh, and surely Milton's Abdiel is worth a mention, too?
. . .From amidst them forth he pass'd
Long way through hostile scorn, which he
Sustain'd superior, nor of violence fear'd aught;
And with retorted scorn, his back he turn'd
On those proud Tow'rs to swift destruction doom'd. Paradise Lost (Bk.VI.903-907)

9 October 2010 at 21:45  
Anonymous gyges said...

@anon 14:54 tells us that,

"she had permission from the head and written permission from the parents. On top of that she rang each parent the weekend before the conference to confirm that they agreed."

On this basis the breach of confidence claim substantially diminishes, for, who is to bring the claim?

The parents may turn coat but any analysis of that situation should be left until, or rather, 'if' it happens.

Note that the breach still occurred and that the official solicitor could take some court action. However, I doubt he would do so.

He has more pressing matters to focus upon.

As for my own mention of the word misfeasance: it was ill conceived.

10 October 2010 at 11:01  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Unsworth said...

Welcome to the real world of 'Education x 3' in modern England. I take it you're now relatively content for me to remain a Governor...

Yes. My previous comments were made in haste!

10 October 2010 at 16:37  
Blogger Unsworth said...

@ Graham Davis

Gracious response. Please understand that most of my comments are made in haste - and almost all in rage...

10 October 2010 at 17:11  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

I've stayed quite on the most part on this one until I had enough facts to make an educated decision on my stance.

I can now comfortably say this is yet another one I agree with Cranmer on, by jove whats going on, that's four for four, has stem cell research on swine embryo's resulted in the sprouting of feathered winged piglets?

11 October 2010 at 14:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace,
The school shows on record an improvement is false as highlighted by Katharine:
Everything that is taught is BTEC-
a false misinterpretation
Pupils gain 4 EQUIVALENT GCSE in science doing BTEC and as a specialism. There is no exams, students complete these in under 3 months with cut and paste methods.
There is no records of evidence and a lot of cheating by the teachers.
Your grace- investigation is required by the exam boards showing evidence of pupils work and not simply cut and paste teaching.

12 October 2010 at 05:53  
Anonymous Man on Waterloo Bridge said...


The fact that she calls herself 'Dr.Bishop' speaks volumes. When women's egos clash , there is always thunder and lightning. Birbalsingh handed this to her on a plate ! The good 'doctor' will be brought down a peg in due course : "Give time, time.."

17 October 2010 at 12:00  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Man on Waterloo Bridge -

God forbid that I should defend this woman; but in all fairness, we cannot castigate her for wearing her academic entitlement. Especially so, within the context of her profession.

17 October 2010 at 15:32  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Man on Waterloo bridge -

My apologies! It appears that her Doctorate may be an 'Honorary Doctorate' ... if so, I agree with you, and all bets are off!

17 October 2010 at 15:43  
Blogger Jane said...

I listened to Katherine Birbalsingh's speech live on television and at the time agreed with every word. I also thought she was a impressive speaker. Informed and passionate she cares about the welfare of her pupils.

Like Ms Birbalsingh I read Marxist literature as a student, but experience has taught me to see the world differently. It was quite clear that she was speaking generally or using specific examples to make a general point. For example the "I am anger management" boy who was incapable of taking responsibility for himself. She criticised a culture that keeps poor children poor and encourages low standards particularly amongst black boys, because teachers are so afraid of the race card being pulled on them that they dare not reprimand them. The result sets a bad example to other black boys, who make heroes of underachievers. She is also correct that generally an exceptionally talented child will achieve, come what may in the state system, but what about the ordinary ones. Heads are shackled by bureaucracy and targets set by the previous Government. No wonder she is disillusioned with Marxism!

Ms Birbalsingh expressed legitimate views at a Conference she had every right to attend with her Conservative hat on. She never named her school, nor criticised a teacher personally and certainly did not bring her academy or her profession into disrepute. She had a right to free speech.

I was shocked when I read in the Telegraph the weekend following the Conservative Party Conference that Ms Birbalsingh had been "sent home", which is New Labour speak for being suspended. Now I am saddened to hear on this blog that Ms Birbalsingh has left the school.

We now have a Conservative Liberal Democrat Coalition, which is committed to reforming education at the same time listens to professionals like Ms Birbalsingh. It is however a slower process for administrative cultures to change under a new government. Clearly the administrating authorities/bureaucrats that Ms Birbalsingh was subject are still stuck in the New Labour time-warp. This has had sad consequences for Ms Birbalsingh and probably removed an exceptional teacher from children who would have benefited from her educational standards and philosophy.

Fundamentally for the rest of us, it is a tragedy for free speech and victory for New Labour hypocrisy. It shows how much the administration of this country has been politicised and our language hijacked to distort reality.

I can only hope and pray that Ms Birbalsingh will find a new position and her professional career has not been ruined. As she quite aptly said: "Success is never final. Failure never fatal. It is courage that counts".

31 October 2010 at 14:17  

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