Katharine Birbalsingh forced to resign from Church of England Academy
The ‘Tory Teacher’ who dared to make a speech at the Conservative Party conference about the parlous state of state education has been so appallingly treated by her 'Blairite’ headteacher and her Anglican Chairman of Governors that she has been forced to resign.
They will probably take issue with the word ‘forced’.
Well, let them sue.
It was they who decided to ‘suspend’ Ms Birbalsingh after making her speech, on the trumped-up charge of using children’s photographs and offending the entire teaching profession.
His Grace is angered beyond verbal expression at this outcome, and he promised a ‘terrors of the earth’ apocalypse if these myopic politically-correct-socialist-ecumenicals got this wrong.
And they did.
Canon Peter Clark, the Chairman of Governors, has issued this statement to the press:
Following discussions between St Michael and All Angels Academy and Katharine Birbalsingh, Ms Birbalsingh is leaving the Academy’s employment. The Governing Body would like to thank Katharine Birbalsingh for her contribution as Vice Principal since she joined the Academy in September and wish her well for the future.Discussions?
Such effusive ‘thanks’ after just four weeks’ employment?
Wish her well?
Canon Clark must think His Grace is stupid.
And the resignation as a result of the ‘furore’ has been confirmed by another governor, Canon Andrew Grant.
Too many canons and not enough balls.
Ms Birbalsingh’s forced resignation is proof positive that the state education system is ‘fundamentally broken’.
And ‘Dr’ Irene Bishop (her doctorate is honorary) and Canon Peter Clark are just too obtuse to see it.
They had on their staff a deputy headteacher of inspirational vision, infectious passion, supreme skill and acute intelligence. All of that was evident from just the three-minute speech she made at the Conservative Party conference: her performance in a school context must be a wonder to behold.
Ms Birbalsingh’s students must have loved seeing Miss on the television. You can imagine her return to work – the admiration and appreciation; the respect and gratitude that God so loved St Michael and All Angels Academy that he sent his only-begotten (just about) Right-thinking teacher, that whoever is taught by her should not end up in poverty, but have a decent career and a life of hope.
But her Executive Headteacher ‘suspended’ her.
Perhaps ‘Dr’ Bishop felt threatened: perhaps intimidated, inadequate or jealous.
Perhaps she panicked, and so fabricated a reason for sending Ms Birbalsingh home: that the rest of the staff were insulted, angered and upset by the speech, especially the bit about all teachers being ‘blinded by Leftist ideology’.
That, you see, was far too close to the bone.
A variety of fates are usually visited upon people who tell the truth.
The can be bullied and intimidated into recanting; persecuted and defamed; suspended, sacked or executed.
Miss Snuffy doesn’t immediately strike you as the sort to be easily intimidated.
But bullying is a dark art.
And Ms Birbalsingh is only human.
From the moment she was ‘sent home’ and prevented from returning to work, a shadow was cast over her professionalism and competence. Her offence was of such magnitude that it merited the immediate retribution usually reserved for teachers who thieve, cheat or give their pupils private sessions of physical education.
What now for Ms Birbalsingh?
Well, Toby Young is presently setting up a new school and is clearly a fan.
When she returned to work last Thursday her executive head teacher instructed her to spend the rest of the week at home. Proof, if proof were needed, that anyone who questions the prevailing socialist dogma within the state education system is immediately punished. Had Miss Birbalsingh made a speech at the Labour conference in which she endorsed Ed Balls's education policies, she would have been hailed as a conquering hero on her return to work. Her head teacher is the one who should be sent home, where she'd have an opportunity to reflect on the message her actions sent to her pupils about the school's tolerance of dissenting views.His Grace begs to differ.
‘Dr’ Bishop ought to be dismissed.
And Canon Peter Clark ought to resign.
If only for lying.
The statement they issued following Ms Birbalsingh’s suspension included this assurance:
Miss Birbalsingh was asked to work at home on Thursday and Friday and will return to work next week.As His Grace observed, ‘will’ is quite definite: it is a future expectation of ability or capacity.
It implied at least that a conversation had taken place and agreement struck between Ms Birbalsingh and 'Dr' Bishop to permit Ms Birbalsingh to return to work.
It satisfied the media and the Facebook campaign was closed down.
It appeared as though Mayor Boris had triumphed.
But it was a lie.
Ms Birbalsingh did not return to work, and enquiries to the school regarding her whereabouts were referred to the Southwark Diocesan Board of Education.
Which is also a not wholly-truthful body, for in their public rebuke of Ms Birbalsingh last week in which they criticised her for using children’s photographs, they inadvertently omitted to mention that she had secured not only the permissions of all the parents, but also of the Academy’s full-time ‘on-the-ground’ Headteacher who operates beneath the part-time ‘flying’ Executive Headteacher.
Boris is right to observe that Ms Birbalsingh is ‘a principled person who has reached the end of her tether’.
That tether is quite long: it has to be in teaching.
You need unyielding tenacity, a stubborn conviction, grit.
But a deputy headteacher cannot stay where the headteacher does not want him or her.
Ms Birbalsingh may have resigned, but His Grace would bet the ashes of his right arm that she was pushed. Canon Peter Clark’s statement says more in what it does not say.
There is no indication of agreement or mutual consent; just ‘following discussions’.
And no doubt these ‘discussions’ were intimidating, bullying and wholly one-sided.
They have probably paid her off and bought her silence.
Not that they needed to, for Ms Birbalsingh, even in midst of the anguish and doubt this situation must have caused her, has never criticised her school; indeed, she has shown them nothing but respect, compassion and understanding. Her loyalty to her school is exemplary.
Their betrayal of her is shameful.
How could such a talent and truth-teller find herself so lost?
‘Dr’ Irene Bishop and Canon Peter Clark do not know the meaning of truth or justice.
They will have persuaded themselves that Ms Birbalsingh is a renegade, her conduct was unacceptable, and so her resignation would have been welcomed with great sighs of relief.
Throughout all of this, they have not considered the children for one moment.
Ms Birbalsingh evidently has them at the forefront of her mind all the time.
His Grace was sent an email yesterday, which included the following:
In years to come her name will be on the tongues of many successful adults, who might otherwise have fallen by the wayside, as their inspiration. There can be no higher accolade in the teaching profession. I am just one of a great many people who, mostly silently, support her and her efforts to improve the lives of those children under her care. Her views may well be unwelcome and divisive but they are not malicious and are motivated by a sincere desire to give the disadvantaged a true chance at attaining an excellent education.Ms Birbalsingh is probably job-hunting this very morning.
She will be searching for her next ‘Dopey’, ‘Stoic’ or ‘Dingbat’ to guide, nurture and inspire.