Sunday, October 17, 2010

Katharine Birbalsingh ‘wished to stay but it became clear she could not’


The Daily Mail has confirmed it. Katharine Birbalsingh was forced out by ‘Dr’ Irene Bishop and Canon Peter Clark.

They are respectively the Executive Headteacher and Chairman of Governors of St Michael and All Angels Church of England Academy in Camberwell, whose respective unwarranted action and incompetent inaction forced Ms Birbalsingh to resign as the school’s deputy headteacher after just four weeks in the post.

And all because of a speech in which she disclosed that life in most state secondary schools was ‘totally and utterly chaotic’, with a lack of discipline in black boys in particular, all because of an education system which is ‘fundamentally broken’ and which keeps ‘poor children poor’.

According to ‘Dr Irene Bishop’ and Canon Peter Clark, such statements ‘misrepresented’ their academy (even though Ms Birbalsingh did not mention the place) and the ‘generalisations’ were ‘insulting to many teachers’. They declared: ‘We and all schools have high aspirations for our young people whatever their backgrounds.’

No generalisation there (an no explanation of how this is consonant with the school’s recent damning Ofsted inspection).

‘Dr’ Bishop has since banned The Daily Mail from the staffroom; school assemblies now take their daily texts religiously from The Guardian; Canon Clark is negotiating an ICT upgrade to stream the BBC into each teaching unit so that the Academy's directors of learning and teaching and student behaviour managers can deliver the prescribed lesson plans to their primary stakeholders.

The Sunday Telegraph helpfully informs us that Ms Birbalsingh ‘loses job’, as if it were a contact lens. They confirm the gagging order, disclosing that she is ‘unable to discuss details of her departure’. They also confirm that the school ‘refused to discuss the terms of the teacher's departure’. But they intriguingly continue: ‘However, sources said that she had resigned after being asked to comply with conditions that she did not feel able to comply with.’

‘Dr’ Irene Bishop and Canon Peter Clark have obviously attempted to suppress what they perceive as dissent: when you put a ‘Blairite’ headteacher with an Anglican chairman of governors, it must follow, as the night the day, that the school cannot be false to any man.

Or woman.

Or any black, brown, fat, disabled, gay, bi, trans or incompetent teacher.

But Tories are fair game.

Being false to them is in the cause of a higher philosophical truth for the common political good.

It must have taken quite a lot of political persecution to censor Miss Snuffy.

One has to wonder what has been threatened. The Telegraph discloses that she ‘resigned after being asked to comply with conditions that she did not feel able to comply with’.

What conditions were these? Restricting freedom of speech? Prohibiting enthusiasm? Killing her vision? Imposing severe and unattainable limitations on her uncontrollably-frizzy hair?

The Times (£) has also reported on the affair, but it is The Daily Mail which confirms His Grace’s conjecture: ‘It is understood that she wished to stay but it became clear she could not continue after a series of meetings with senior management.’

What was the tone and manner of these ‘discussions’? Which members of senior management were present? Was Ms Birbalsingh bullied, harassed, threatened, coerced or intimidated? Was she permitted to be accompanied? Were minutes taken? Are they available?

Apparently, ‘a source close to Education Secretary Michael Gove, who spoke at the Tory Conference immediately after Ms Birbalsingh, said he continued to support the teacher but could not interfere in the school’s management of the affair.’

Well, the Secretary of State most certainly does have the power to intervene, granted to him by Parliament. And so do the Bishop of London and the Bishop of Kingston.

It is a state-funded Church of England school: it might have academy liberties, but as long as public and church monies are involved it remains accountable both to politicians (for the people) and clergy (for the church). Of course, no clergy will sit in judgment upon Canon Clark, but it remains the task of the present Secretary of State to roll his predecessor’s ‘world-class education system’.

Despite a decade of ‘Education, education, education’, the UK has fallen from fourth to 14th in the international rankings in science; from seventh in literacy to 17th; and plummeted from eighth to 24th in maths.

Could someone please explain to His Grace how this empirical deterioration is consistent with ‘Dr’ Bishop’s and Canon Clark’s assertion that ‘(they) and all schools have high aspirations for our young people’, or with the annual ritual whereby those who are ‘blinded by Leftist ideology’ pat themselves on the back because of record levels of success in GCSEs and A-levels?

Ms Birbalsingh is not a whistleblower in the sense that she sought to disclose any hitherto concealed illegal activity. But by drawing the nation’s attention to the toxic combination of disabling political correctness and rampant grade-inflation in the education system, she took a stroll in the valley of professional death.

She should fear no evil:
For His Grace is with her;
His blog and communicants, they comfort her.

Ms Birbalsingh is concerned with academic rigour and the pursuit of academic excellence, both of which have been largely absent from reams of successive Labour education white papers. The three Rs were abandoned as pupils were reduced to utilitarian ‘economic imperatives’ in the process of the acquisition of superficial skills and debased qualifications. The league table became the fount of all knowledge, and so headteachers sought to manipulate and scheme in whatever way they needed to in order to create the perception of a successful school.

And, of course, for their own glory.

Which brings His Grace rather neatly to ‘Dr’ Irene Bishop.

She is very happy to talk about her professional ‘cock-ups’, and to that list she really ought to add the everyday use of her doctorate.

Because it is not quite as it appears.

Or as she presents.

Or even boasts.

On the video welcoming everyone to St Saviour’s and St Olave’s, she says: “My name is Dr Irene Bishop.”

‘Irene’ she may have been given by her parents.

‘Bishop’ she appears to have gained from her husband.

But ‘My name is Doctor…’?

Is she a time lord?

Did a vicar christen her with a divinely-bestowed doctorate?

Her doctorate is not earned; it is honorary.

Nothing wrong with that, except that when one is awarded an honorary doctorate, one does not usually style oneself with the title.

Debrett’s confirms the protocol.

This is because proper academic doctors (as opposed to the medical type) have all usually spent about 20 years or so getting educated. It is a hard-earned degree; indeed, the highest degree one can earn for graduate study.

An honorary doctorate is bestowed by universities who wish to honour or recognise a dignitary, benefactor, or notable alumnus/alumna. The University of Exeter clearly wished to bestow such recognition upon Irene Bishop. Perhaps she did her BEd there, or something. His Grace does not know. He has (twice) enquired, but ‘Dr’ Bishop has not had the courtesy to respond.

Exeter are quite clear about their criteria for honorary docorates:

"Honorary degrees may only be awarded to candidates without reference
to the 5 additional criteria if a very significant PR benefit can be
identified."
A significant PR benefit?

Surely the honorary doctorate of a 'Blairite' headteacher couldn't be spun, could it?

Usually, neither the university nor the honouree are naïve enough to believe that an honorary doctorate actually confers a full doctorate, and so those with honorary degrees do not use the title.

But ‘Dr’ Bishop clearly believes that having a doctorate, or conveying the impression that one is very highly educated, adds a certain perceived prestige to her otherwise apparently inadequate qualifications.

Her Bachelor of Education degree is not subject-specific and is little more than a CertEd licence to teach. Her MA was probably acquired ‘on-the-job’, probably a 10,000-word dissertation on some aspect of school improvement which she was having to undertake in any case.

So Ms Birbalsingh, with her hard-earned Oxford degree in French and Philosophy, is altogether more highly academically qualified than Mrs Bishop (as she will henceforth be styled), just as she is in her personal and professional attributes.

Mrs Bishop appears to have been appointed by Canon Peter Clark, who is fairly anonymous and quite obscure, which is a good thing. Having been the vicar at Battersea Christ Church and St Stephen (Southwark), he retired, according to The Times, in 2008.

But according to Wandsworth Council, he is still there.

If one studies the educational ethos of the Diocese of Southwark, one reads that they seek to glorify Christ and uphold Christian values. When it comes to their treatment of staff, they say they are ‘fair, consistent and objective’ and ‘encourage all employees to achieve and maintain high standards of performance.’

They also claim to offer ‘well-planned support and/or counselling’ to their staff.

Mrs Bishop is very fond of chaplains.

Pray, who counselled, guided, supported or encouraged Katharine Birbalsingh?

Who cared? Who listened? Who loved?

Mrs Bishop’s Christian values appear to be as superficial as her doctorate.

Canon Clark should accept her resignation as swiftly as he accepted that of Ms Birbalsingh.

And then do the honourable thing himself.

89 Comments:

Anonymous gyges said...

I'm wondering how much influence Miss Birbalsingh's previous blog has had on the affair. Although the blog has been removed, there are still caches of its contents here and there. I haven't read much of this blog but I can imagine that under the cloak of anonymity it was a valuable resource to those interested in delivering high quality education. However, with Miss Birbalsingh being known as the author, shredding the anonymity, this may have become evidence of repeated breaches of both contractual and equitable confidences.

In short, I wonder if Miss Birbalsingh has nightjacked herself.

17 October 2010 at 11:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She has been at the school for 4 weeks. There has never been the slightest indication from the school that she has done anything wrong except use the photographs and that was with permission. The blog might make uncomfortable reading but there has been no sign that anything she said was untrue. Uncomfortable to read certainly but based on fact. Her blog was taken down when she lost her anonymity. I assume to avoid embarrassing others despite the fact they weren't named. The reason the school's website is not available is not clear.

17 October 2010 at 11:18  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

I trust that many people will be keeping a close watch on those who attend and speak at the next Labour party conference. Any teachers there should be exposed in the press and on the blogs and given the same treatment as Ms Birbalsingh. Use the same tools against the socialists as they happily use against the rest of us.

17 October 2010 at 11:19  
Anonymous "Dr." "Mrs." Epictetus said...

Gyges

Good point. However, the timings seem to suggest that she stopped blogging before she took up her new appointment, so her new school have no grounds for complaint. We do not know whether she had discussed the acceptability of her blog with the authorities at her former school. Given that she was scrupulous in obtaining permissions to use photographs and to speak at the conference from St. Michael's & All Angers it is not unreasonable to admit the possibility. Even if she had not, all that is a side issue. Do we want the debate to focus on whether it is acceptable to have state schools in which stabbing, rape and shoving people's heads thought panes of glass is normal? Or are we going to pretend that that is not a problem and focus instead on matters of secondary importance?

Archbishop Cranmer homes in on the bogus title that Mrs Bishop likes to use. It is in a sense a real qualification, as it makes her ideally suited for the post of Lilly Liver Professor of Chopped Logic or the Katyn Professor of Moral Turpitude. I'm sure she'd excel at either job. They seem to be her core competencies.

"Mrs Dr Epictetus"

17 October 2010 at 11:27  
Anonymous Dack said...

I know I'm banging on about this (fpt) but... if power is shifted from the LEAs to the heads/management and unions are weakened - how is this going to make it easier for principled teachers to speak out?

TV coverage this morning was spinning this affair as 'teachers closing ranks'... but teachers, in my humble experience of 18 years in 6 (very) different schools, are not the main problem - management is.

17 October 2010 at 11:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect that Michael Gove is shuffling in his seat, hoping this will all go away.
Pitiful.

17 October 2010 at 11:57  
Blogger Chris Paul said...

One would hope that a degree including Philosophy would include a grasp of evidence and would engender a reluctance to generalise. But sadly this teacher let her potty mouth run.

Most posts at this level in public service are politically restricted but lecturers, teachers and even school management teams have been exempted from this regime - brought in by Tories following the Widdecombe Report in 1989 - though it may be that individual contracts do imply or specify restrictions.

The water is a bit muddy and a FOIA request re possible proscription of BNP teachers here does mention political restriction inter alia.

Neither of us know what was discussed in the private negotiations between this woman and her employers. If the behaviours requested by her employers were unreasonable then this woman will have a case to take to an Employment Tribunal for constructive dismissal. If she does not take such a case or loses we may feel that it was she who has been unreasonable in refusing the offer of continued employment.

As to the question of entitlement to titles 'Archbishop' this is (of course) less clear in real life than in Debrett's. Irene's choice here does not have much if anything to do with the events under discussion. In fact your own link to Debrett's 'Archbishop' and your characterisation of what will be discovered there are respectively very imprecise and very imprecise.

The direct link is this and it says:

The recipient of a doctorate conferred by a university or other body, such as the Council for National Academic Awards, is entitled to be addressed as 'Doctor'. The exception to this is a surgeon, who is known as Mr/Mrs/Miss, etc.

In practice, when a well-known figure outside the academic world receives an honorary doctorate, the recipient does not generally adopt the title of 'Doctor', especially when he or she already has other styles or titles, for example a peer, an officer in the Armed Forces, a judge, etc. This, however, is a matter of the recipient's choice.


Which suggests that a recipient unencumbered with lots of other titles might well use the honorary doctorate, which they have 'earnt' albeit informally by their achievements in life, and that it entirely up to them whether they do so in any case.

Although Ms Edith Sitwell's wiki does not cover this, which may make your point for you, even if some marauding wiki editor at large, on an Archbishopesque high horse has suppressed this, it was apparently the case that she had three or four D.Litt.s all honorary but she liked them to be referenced in full.

Like so:

On her luggage label she had printed a yellow label that read:
DAME EDITH SITWELL, D.B.E., D LITT., D LITT., D LITT.


Source: Outpost.

17 October 2010 at 12:09  
Anonymous len said...

Ms Birbalsingh is clearly being made an' example' of here to silence others who might speak out against the system,who might actually reveal the truth!.
There has presumably been some sort of 'gagging order'imposed which Ms Birbalsingh did not feel she could ethically comply with.
What price free speech,free expression of ideas in our Education system?In our Society even?
Political Correctness is but a tool of Cultural Marxism to silence opposition.Political Correctness is in the process of turning our society upside down.Political Correctness is a way of repressing truth and controlling thought through speech.

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
Joseph Goebbels

17 October 2010 at 12:31  
Anonymous Epictetus said...

Chris Paul

What you say may well be true, and apart from some minor details I don;t doubt in the slightest the facts of what restrictions apply to public servants, nor do I think it matters much that technically in her most recent school the teachers may not be public servants.

However I feel that the broad picture you paint misses a couple of significant points of detail. First, Katharine B. was sent home not for her blog but for speaking at the conference. Moreover, she had full permission form the school to speak there. It seems that her suspension was at best a decision made on erroneous premises and at worst a spiteful, deliberate decision made by someone who put their own prejudices above their professional and legal duties.

You say that Katharine B. "let her potty mouth run." Can you clarify what exactly it was that she said that you think was wrong? I've watched her speech on YouTube a couple of times and she seemed to me to give a sober and factual account of grave problems in schools. I am interested to hear your analysis.

Regards

"Mrs. Epictetus, D. Phil, D. Phil, D. Phil"

17 October 2010 at 12:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how it will be spun on the new improved and doctored website as the Cannon said to the Bishop.

The St Michael's Website is still down.

HTTP Error 404 - File or directory not found.
Internet Information Services (IIS).

Perhaps their IT and Information Systems Management amongst others need to be reviewed.

As Guido posters would say, they are acting like a bunch of Hoons following Gordon's moral compass.

17 October 2010 at 12:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bishop of Southwark not Bishop of London.

17 October 2010 at 13:02  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Even some people with a D. Phil call themselves "Doctor".

17 October 2010 at 13:06  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

I belong to an organisation which is compelled to have a 'whistleblower policy' in order to receive some miserably slight public funding. I don't mind having such a policy, which is intended to protect from persecution staff members who draw attention to illegal, unconstitutional or dangerous pratices they have perceived operating within the organisation. Okay, it's a bit bureaucratic, but no big deal.

But now we find a state-funded and regulated organisation (a school) bringing apparently intolerable pressure to bear on somebody who hasn't even whistle-blown about the school itself, but about the general state of secondary education, and speaking out about what every dog on the street already knows.

So where is the school's/LEA's/diocese's whistleblower policy, and why is it not being invoked invoked on this occasion?

17 October 2010 at 13:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting that ChrisPaul refers to Mrs Bishop as Irene. A personal friend perhaps?

17 October 2010 at 13:50  
Anonymous Kevin Monk said...

Terrible. I find the whole affair very depressing. I only wish there was some way to right this wrong.

Thanks for keeping us posted and should you be in contact with Katherine then let her know that there are people out there who fully support her.

17 October 2010 at 13:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

.They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
Pastor Niemoller

17 October 2010 at 14:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon
'interesting that Chris Paul refers to Mrs Bishop as Irene'
The same thought crossed my mind.

He presents a text book New Labour response: Personal slight (potty mouth), questions her intelligence, a smattering of research (internet grabs will do) and then hides behind a legal proviso of disclosure. "We don't know what was discussed." Too true, and much to the benefit of 'Irene' I would hazard.
Finally - avoid the heart of the issue :- the UKs disastrous fall in educational standards.
Straight from the handbook comrade.

17 October 2010 at 14:47  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

You guys are funny.

17 October 2010 at 15:21  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Ah well, using an Honorary Degree as part of her professional accouterment is an absolute no-no!

(My apologies to 'Man on Waterloo Bridge' on a previous blog-posting ... I had not yet learnt of Mrs. Bishop's abhorrent pretension!)

This is so far beyond the pale, within the terms of Mrs. Bishop's chosen professional career, as to be bordering upon the fraudulent.

At the very least, it is utterly risible; as it is ultimately 'telling' : and thus we have the 'true nature of the beast'!

17 October 2010 at 16:24  
Anonymous 'Dr' Woman on a Raft said...

As to the question of entitlement to titles 'Archbishop' this is (of course) less clear in real life than in Debrett's.

No, it's completely clear. The honorary degree is a real certificate as the university will confirm. There's nothing wrong with being proud of an honour but by convention only somebody sneaky and prone to misrepresenting themselves would try to pass themselves off as an academic doctor when they are not one.

Jeremy Clarkson, for example, has two (DUniv Brunel 2003 and Oxford Brookes HonDEng 2005) and is jolly proud of them. Both universities wished to honour him for his work in promoting public knowledge of and enthusiasm for engineering.

He doesn't go round styling himself 'Dr' Clarkson although he's twice as entitled as 'Dr' Bishop to do so. Although he's somewhat bumptious he's not such a raving egomaniac as to pass himself off as an academic. He's thrilled to have received his DUniv and HonDEng, though.

Now, as it happens there have been quite a few cases recently of employers tightening up on their response when employees misrepresent their educational qualifications. If that misrepresentation is to secure an advantage which they might not otherwise have got - such as an executive headship - and they allowed the interviewers to think something was true when it really was not, thereby influencing their decision, then it can be grounds for dismissal and possibly referral to the police on a criminal charge.

Truthfulness; that's what 'Dr' Bishop wouldn't know if it bit her on the backside. This alone tells me she's a rubbish head and needs to be replaced, sharpish. She's part of the problem, none of the solution.

17 October 2010 at 17:02  
Anonymous "Mrs" Epictetus said...

Oswin

You make the point very well. Perhaps there is a university in North Korea or Zimbabwe for training political commissars, which, if you could get up a petition for it, would grant "Dr." Bishop a further honourary doctorate? It would suit her.

" 'Dr. Kim-Il-Epictetus"

17 October 2010 at 17:03  
Anonymous Colonel Saunders said...

What's wrong with instant titles anyway? I say they're finger lickin' good!

Kirsty MacColl ("In these shoes") has a song "There's a guy works down the chip shop thinks he's Elvis." Would someone on this blog care to write new lyrics to the tune in honour of Irene Bishop and her ego? It might become a hit.

17 October 2010 at 17:16  
Blogger Woman on a Raft said...

As Katharine Birbalsingh said:

The real problem is our educational culture, so full of sloppiness and sentimentality, dumbing-down and deceit. Bad behaviour is tolerated too easily, poor performance covered-up.

'Dr' Bishop is the living proof of that.

Perhaps Ms Birbalsingh's real error was to inadvertently hit 'Dr' Bishop's envious ego right between the eyes.

17 October 2010 at 18:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up."

Weren't these people dragged away and brutally murdered? Or were they dragged away and brutally interviewed, and then brutally offered another job somewhere else?

There is some serious overdramatizing in applying this to Ms. Birbalsingh. (Or did she perhaps post this herself, in a moment of raging narcissism? That you, miss?)

So let’s get this straight. If we don’t agree that you’re absolutely right and make a big fuss over you, and that your colleagues are entirely in the wrong, then we are the moral equivalent of people who were complicit in genocidal murder.

That about it?

What if we think some of things you say about teaching are absolutely right, AND that you’re a smug, grandstanding princess, AND that your colleagues might have various intelligible reasons for being uncomfortable with your grandstanding.

Are we then still guilty of genocide?

17 October 2010 at 19:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 19:50

Are you serious? The point is surely that we shouldn't wait until someone is murdered.

You have assumed that Miss Birbalsingh has the time or energy to read and post on a blog when she is in fact jobless and I imagine worried about her future.

What makes you think she is a "princess" or "smug" or "grandstanding"? The fact she is a woman, smiled when applauded and spoke at a conference?

Who are these colleagues? Do you mean Mrs Bishop and the governors? Or do you mean the entirely sensible comments the vast majority of teachers are making on both tes.co.uk and the facebook page? And what are the intelligible reasons for her colleagues being uncomfortable? The fact she spoke out ("grandstanded"?) ? Or the fact she said things they would rather not hear? And why would they prefer not to hear them?

I second Anonymous 14:47 and note your tactics are similar.

What is it you disagree with regarding the substance of her argument? And do you think she should remain jobless for ever because she made it?

Who would you rather teach your children - Miss Birbalsingh or "Dr" Bishop?

17 October 2010 at 20:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris Paul,

"apparently" the case?

"potty mouth" ?

Must try harder.

See me after class!

17 October 2010 at 20:08  
Anonymous Epictetus said...

Anonymous

How can Ms. Birbalsingh debate, as you would have her do, if she is suspended from her job on vague grounds and then told not to speak to the press, as seems to have happened?

You want to have it both ways, it seems: to argue that she demands all or none support for her case, and that it was right for her school to gag her. Or are you making some other point?

She spoke for less than five minutes at the Conservative conference and in doing so did not disrupt her pupil's work. Mrs Bishop, on the other hand, disrupted her entire school for over two hours to enable Tony Blair to launch his election campaign at her school, in exam season. Mrs Bishop also likes to draw attention to her doctorate, which is misleading at best in the way she uses it, and some might feel fraudulent. I am most interested to know why you describe Ms. Birbalsingh's single, 4 minute action as "grandstanding," yet apparently you do not see Mrs Bishop as "grandstanding"? I'd love to read your answer.

"Epictetus"

17 October 2010 at 20:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

411 on FaceBook for Miss Birbalsingh.

103 for Cliff for Christmas No 1.

Ouch.

17 October 2010 at 20:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Are you serious? The point is surely that we shouldn't wait until someone is murdered.

You have assumed that Miss Birbalsingh has the time or energy to read and post on a blog when she is in fact jobless and I imagine worried about her future."



Are YOU serious???

If we wait long enough while teachers with different political opinions squabble....someone is eventually going to be murdered? If we let this one go, genocide is — what? — the natural culmination of the stalinist campaign against teachers who tell it like it is?

Whah?

Miss, really!

But I love the bit where you wrote:

"when she is in fact jobless and worried about her future."

And then thought...uh-oh, whoops! I mean...

"when she is in fact jobless and — I IMAGINE, although of course I'm just guessing, because of course I'm not her, oh no — worried about her future."

But you ARE writing on the blog!!! When you got all indignant about the suggestion you were writing on the blog, were you actually indignant??? That's just too funny.


Sorry Epictetus — couldn't understand your post.

Anyway, why all the fuss? Can't someone be right, AND a narcissist? Isn't that an ideal combination, in fact?

17 October 2010 at 20:52  
Blogger writermannkl said...

It just goes to show...

That the Education system is unique in its PC led affiliation?

Not on your Irene! The Guardian reading Beeb is a prime example of repressive lefty thinking and as far as I am aware, not a whisper from Broadcasting House about the whole 'cause celebre'.

The new 'Dreyfus'? And how about that monolith Stalinist organisation the NHS? These would have done exactly the same as the many Canons and Docs of the Charity. Trouble makers have no place in a modern British, inclusive, multi cultural Society.

The 'Opium of the People' is not sport or culture or any of the other worthy candidates, but 'Politics'!

So is Michael Gove going to let us know what Tory thinking is on this issue?

By the way, I loved Cramner's 'balls and Canons' bit.

17 October 2010 at 20:57  
Anonymous "Dr." Epictetus said...

Anonymous

Apologies for not being clear, I'll try again. Do you think that Miss Birblesingh is "grandstanding" but Mrs Bishop is not?

One spoke for about five minutes away from school without disrupting pupils' education, the other disrupted her entire school for two hours or more to let Tony Blair launch an election campaign.

I look forward to learning about your feelings on this/

"Dr. Epictetus"

17 October 2010 at 21:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 20:52

I am not Ms. Birbalsingh.

I rather wish I was.

In fact in some ways I wish I were you.

It must be wonderful to know for a fact things that the rest of us mere mortals just have to guess.

I have been a teacher in schools similar to Ms. Birbalsingh's and agree with the points she made in her speech to the Tory Conference.

I never suggested genocide was the natural culmination of accepting that a good and dedicated teacher (unless you know otherwise?) should be de facto suspended for speaking her mind.

On what grounds do you think Ms. Birbalsingh a narcissist?

And do you intend to answer the earlier questions?

To save you the trouble of scrolling back these were:

What makes you think she is a "princess" or "smug" or "grandstanding"? The fact she is a woman, smiled when applauded and spoke at a conference?

Who are these colleagues? Do you mean Mrs Bishop and the governors? Or do you mean the entirely sensible comments the vast majority of teachers are making on both tes.co.uk and the facebook page? And what are the intelligible reasons for her colleagues being uncomfortable? The fact she spoke out ("grandstanded"?) ? Or the fact she said things they would rather not hear? And why would they prefer not to hear them?

What is it you disagree with regarding the substance of her argument? And do you think she should remain jobless for ever because she made it?

Who would you rather teach your children - Miss Birbalsingh or "Dr" Bishop?

Please do try to answer the question(s). Feel free to ask for help. We don't discriminate against the less able here.

17 October 2010 at 21:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are so many struggling to see that a head, executive or otherwise, would take the decision that someone who was clearly a hugely divisive figure and so not in a good position to lead and manage others ought to move on?

In her attack on teaching and teachers in the broadest sense many of the diligent, hardworking teachers were brushed aside to make way for the ego of one who was invited to speak at a public event. Those teachers who work hard, with a selfless focus on furthering the futures of the children they teach, without the audience of a Tory conference or the blogsphere were I imagine, deeply offended to hear the disregard with which they were discussed and the implied professional disdain.

Surely, it isn't too much of a leap of the imagination to realise that given the situation she put herself in, leading teachers who were then aware they could easily have become blog/book fodder was not going be easy.

I don't believe the issue is that is was at the Tory conference, but rather that whilst some of what she said was true, much of it was inflammatory rhetoric that doesn't move the debate about the state of our schools on.

17 October 2010 at 21:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She did not attack teaching or teachers (if you really think she did please do quote from the speech which has been watched by over 13,000 people at last count on www.youtube.com).

She seems to work hard.

What bits were inflammatory rhetoric? Please be specific? What bits did you disagree with?

What debate? By sending her home didn't the school stifle that debate?

WHAT DID SHE DO WRONG? WHAT DID SHE SAY YOU DON'T AGREE WITH?

I'm sorry for shouting but I don't understand why you can't answer that question.

Are you Irene Bishop? And upset no-one gave you the same coverage?

Grins.

17 October 2010 at 21:56  
Anonymous Dr. Epictetus, MA, BEd, NuLab said...

Anonymous

I take it you are not going to answer my question then.

You are now saying that Ms. Birbalsingh was divisive. What is your evidence? She had permission from the school to speak, the overwhelming majority of comments on blogs suggest she speaks for most voters, and when she was suspended divisiveness was never mentioned.

Is it possible that you work for the agency that has been hired by the school and are trying to create a post hoc justification?

"Dr. Epictetus"

17 October 2010 at 22:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I have been a teacher in schools similar to Ms. Birbalsingh's."

What a coincidence! Who'd have thought it? Are you also a 37 year old woman?

I fully agree that you....sorry, that MIss B. should not be made to resign merely for speaking her mind, least of all on the basis of mere political tribalism.

Epictetus, I don't think Mrs. Bishop is as much a narcissist as Miss B. Sorry. Just don't.

I do not intend to answer any more of your prissy questions, Miss B. Anyway — did I ever say I disagreed with any particular claims about the problems in the education system? Don't think so.

Night all — especially to MIss B.

17 October 2010 at 22:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 36 year old white woman. You are an idiot. I'm sorry. I've tried hard to be polite but you insist on believing something that is not true despite all evidence and assertions to the contrary. And also to believe that I am not Ms. Birbalsingh.

I've read Snuffy for ages and have both agreed and disagreed with her. I've never thought I could write in the same way so thank you.

Great to hear you don't think Ms. Birbalsingh should be made to resign. What is your point then?

You refuse to answer the "prissy" questions. Ok. Will you at least explain why they are "prissy"?

Oh go on. Do explain why 7 minutes at the Tory conference with full permission from your Head is grandstanding in a way that inviting a potential PM into a school you run for a couple of hours isn't. Or is that another question you wish to avoid?

17 October 2010 at 22:09  
Anonymous Dr. Epictetus said...

Anonymous

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I understood that your don't think that Mrs Bishop is as much of a narcissist as Miss Birbalsingh, you've made that quite clear.

I was hoping you could say why. The only evidence that is in the public domain suggests the opposite. Mrs Bishop has disrupted her whole school by having a party leader onto school premises to launch an election and uses an academic title grandiosely. Ms Birbalsingh did nothing of the kind, and yet you see her as the greater narcissist.

I am genuinely interested in the reasons behind your views, perhaps I can learn something.

If you can't give any evidence it does not mean you are not entitled to your views, but it will feel as if you share with Mrs Bishop a trait of entrenching yourself in a position when the facts are against you.

"Dr. Epictetus"

17 October 2010 at 22:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the way through the speech there were recurring references to teachers' low expectations of students, if i were a teacher, I would be insulted, at another point she talks about teachers never benchmarking, never comparing and so leaving children in darkness, she talks about teachers as victims of their own thinking who reject development...I think there is plenty around the edges that would be insulting if you were a teacher, particularly one in her school.

What debate? Clearly the debate she wants to engage with, about what I am sure are fundamental problems in schools. Her school, bear in mind didn't ask to be dragged into this debate. From what I gather they have their hands pretty full just getting by as it is. Much of the speech is made up of unhelpful talk which oils the speech wheels but is actually not helpful. Surely in her position the most helpful thing to have done would have been to help turn around a clearly very challenged school.

And no, I'm not Irene Bishop, in fact if she was sitting next to me on the bus I wouldn't know who she was but that doesn't mean the villification of one teacher to aggrandise another is ok

17 October 2010 at 22:20  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

It is so frustrating when so many anonymice descend simultaneously upon His Grace's blog, all being devoid of the creativity of spirit to invent for themselves a moniker.

Please, could someone call themselves 'Colin', another Gladys and another 'Agamemnon'?

Thank you.

17 October 2010 at 22:23  
Anonymous Colin said...

All the way through the speech there were recurring references to teachers' low expectations of students, if i were a teacher, I would be insulted, at another point she talks about teachers never benchmarking, never comparing and so leaving children in darkness, she talks about teachers as victims of their own thinking who reject development...I think there is plenty around the edges that would be insulting if you were a teacher, particularly one in her school.

What debate? Clearly the debate she wants to engage with, about what I am sure are fundamental problems in schools. Her school, bear in mind didn't ask to be dragged into this debate. From what I gather they have their hands pretty full just getting by as it is. Much of the speech is made up of unhelpful talk which oils the speech wheels but is actually not helpful. Surely in her position the most helpful thing to have done would have been to help turn around a clearly very challenged school.

And no, I'm not Irene Bishop, in fact if she was sitting next to me on the bus I wouldn't know who she was but that doesn't mean the villification of one teacher to aggrandise another is ok

17 October 2010 at 22:33  
Blogger writermannkl said...

I listened to the 'trails' on today's BBC Politics show for perhaps a mention of 'The Birbalsingh Affair. But I'm afraid that the The Beeb's show is a 'No show".

Why?

17 October 2010 at 22:34  
Anonymous "Dr." "Gladys" Epictetus said...

Anonymous

Still not answering the question then!

You assert that such and such would or would not be helpful. I respect your views, but you have no monopoly on deciding what is and is not helpful. The fact that the vast majority of comments and editorial is on her side suggests that what she said is regarded by most people as helpful. If you mean her speech hurt your feelings, that's understandable, but the current mindset in state sector education has been in place for thirty years and perhaps your feelings need to be hurt. Katherine's point is that there are children for whom being stabbed, raped, and having their heads thrust through glass windows is normal.

If you are a teacher perhaps you should get over your own emotions and use your academic training to look at the facts and arguments, rather than to enjoy your own prejudices.

Your way of contributing seems only to illustrate what's wrong with the educational establishment.

"Dr. Gladys Epictetus"

17 October 2010 at 22:39  
Anonymous Colin said...

I'm not a teacher so alas for you my feelings aren't involved in any way. It is possible to engage in a debate without feelings needed to be involved I find.

It's fine to sabre rattle if you are prepared to accept that it may mean nobody wants you on their staff.

I think if anyone has prejudices to get over it is your new heroine. There is lots of vitriol directed at anyone who challenges her especially her exec head but I wonder what it is we know about her credentials of achieving excellence anywhere? It's easy to spot the problems, but what solutions has she given education I wonder?

17 October 2010 at 22:43  
Anonymous Colin said...

And which question is it I haven't answered? I disagree with the idea of clawing yourself to attention to decry those you work with then being surprised that you can't continue to work with them.

Is the education system broken? Yes, I imagine so in some places. But then anyone could have said that.

17 October 2010 at 22:47  
Anonymous Colin said...

Anonymous 2220

"All the way through the speech there were recurring references to teachers' low expectations of students"


- quotes please and then explain if you disagree that that is the case

"if i were a teacher, I would be insulted"

- not if you were a teacher who didn't have low expectations

"at another point she talks about teachers never benchmarking, never comparing and so leaving children in darkness"

- this is simply a statement of fact

"she talks about teachers as victims of their own thinking who reject development...I think there is plenty around the edges that would be insulting if you were a teacher, particularly one in her school."

- she had been in the school for 4 weeks and made it clear her comments were about the system and not a particular school


"What debate? Clearly the debate she wants to engage with, about what I am sure are fundamental problems in schools. Her school, bear in mind didn't ask to be dragged into this debate."

- And she didn't drag them in. She didn't mention them. She protected them.

"From what I gather they have their hands pretty full just getting by as it is."

- quite

"Much of the speech is made up of unhelpful talk which oils the speech wheels but is actually not helpful. Surely in her position the most helpful thing to have done would have been to help turn around a clearly very challenged school."

- She was trying. Then they sent her home.

"And no, I'm not Irene Bishop, in fact if she was sitting next to me on the bus I wouldn't know who she was but that doesn't mean the villification of one teacher to aggrandise another is ok."

- And I'm still not Katharine Birbalsingh

17 October 2010 at 22:49  
Anonymous Dr. Gladys Epictetus said...

Does anyone know why the school has hired a PR company, how much it costs, who is paying and what, if any, part of the school budget has been cut to pay for it?

If the taxpayer is funding it, we ought to be told whether the mandate of the PR company extends to posting comments on blogs such as this with the aim of influencing the opinion of the genuine public. At he very least, the governors of the school should be able to give a public undertaking.

"Dr." Gladys Epictetus

17 October 2010 at 22:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops sorry your Grace,

It seems there is a surfeit of Colins and Gladiolo.

Will try harder

17 October 2010 at 22:51  
Anonymous "Dr. Gladys" Epictetus said...

Colin / Anonymous

"And which question is it I haven't answered? I disagree with the idea of clawing yourself to attention to decry those you work with then being surprised that you can't continue to work with them."

Katharine B was almost certainly surprised to be suspended without explanation (which must be a breach of the school's own disciplinary procedures) when she had been given permission to present at the conference. And you are mistaken - she did not descry those she worked with, or mention the school at all. She did decry people who think it is acceptable that schoolchildren rape, stab and "glass" each other. What's wrong with that?

In a country that is free and democratic anyone should be able to make a speech, provided it is not "fighting talk", and return to a civil environment at work. If her colleagues made her life intolerable, it is them that should go, all of them not her, in the same way that if her colleagues had insulted her race or sex they all should have gone. That's what this is all about, freedom and democracy.

One of several questions that you have not answered is why, given the evidence in the public domain to the contrary, do you feel that Ms Birbalsingh is more of a narcissist than Mrs. Bishop? If you have some information not readily available via Google, I'd like to hear it. I have an open mind and new evidence can make it change.What I've seen is Miss Birbalsingh make a very short speech that disrupted no pupils, but Mrs Bishop on several occasions used her entire school, at great cost in disruption to pupils, for political ends, and drew far more attention to herself. I am really interested to learn why I should discount this evidence.

"Dr. Gladys Epictetus."

17 October 2010 at 23:01  
Anonymous Dr. Agamemnon Gladiolator said...

Anonymous @2251

Gladioli, not -olo.

You are obviously not a teacher then.

17 October 2010 at 23:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ty.

It was a typo.

Sorry.

17 October 2010 at 23:12  
Blogger Ir'Rational said...

Your Grace
Please, please do not let this matter rest.
Your Grace sometimes underestimates the influence wielded by Your Grace.

17 October 2010 at 23:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They have pushed her out at their peril. Now she is a free agent and dangerous as any loose cannon on any ship including the ship of state.
BTW I find these opening skirmishes of this new war are just delightful. Can't wait for the next installment. I wonder who is writing the script? I'll bet its a Tory.

18 October 2010 at 00:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Epictetus,

I said goodnight, to you and to Miss B. (sorry — to NOT-Miss B, who it turns is a 36 year old female teacher who thinks absolutely everything that Miss B does, and most certainly NOT a 37 year old teacher who thinks absolutely everything Miss B does, i.e., Miss. B. — so there!)

What's more, NOT-MIss B. is flattered that I would consider her worthy of comparison to Miss. B's great literary talent.

Really Miss, that is outright hilarious. Praising your own literary talent in an anonymous persona!!!

If that isn't narcissism, what is???

But I digress. Epictetus, I'm NOT "Colin". That's someone else, who apparently likewise is not totally impressed by Miss B. Obviously insane.

So I still cannot answer your question. But may I rest my case for narcissism on the above bizarre antics of Miss B.?

By all means just disregard my opinions if you find this inadequate. That would be perfectly fair.

Night night.

Really.

18 October 2010 at 00:54  
Anonymous not a machine said...

The more I try and understand what all this is about (and some of the more unusual comments on here today) I cant help but wonder what on earth the school was thinking when it took this route.
The charge so far reported appears weak , slightly unhinged even as clearly those who have been judge and jury , complete with summarly but crafty resignation demand (for I doubt Miss Burlbasingh proposed it) have not really for seen that it all whiffs of a lack of justice . A gagging order is a nice touch to proclaiming a non sacking and yet we have the suspension , which is pre to judgement , so we have a somthing which is not gross discplinery matter being deemed one prior to any charges. Given the school could have not chosen to cross the rubicon and sorted it out in a much better light.
Not only has the head thought what Miss Burbalsingh said was wrong , but one her deputies was wrong to speak , ie a senior appontment.
Of course clashes are not rare in service sectors where poor abilities are wrongly promoted .

But heres the rub for the school , it is clear to many that truth has been warped perhaps subverted , what is there defence ? or perhaps what sort of speech would not have caused the forces of hell to be unleashed ? Indeed the gagging order now asks, if Miss Burbalsingh did not speak any truth and spoke profession untruths, what version of what many teachers see and experience in schools is the one that keeps ones job.
Mrs Bishop and the canon/governers/diocese is responsible for matters pertaining to her/thier school , to make a charge loosley based on what is a representation/state of the teaching profession and schooling ,I cant help but feel is beyond there remit.
Speaking for the many is somthing that is useually judged by the many , and Miss Burbalsinghs popularity and agreement went beyond the political party conference hall , she was not booed , proclaimed to be rubbish or lite .

This schools judgement will now become a mystery for a while , teaching professionals will dissect and examine , heads will be scratched , as the gagging leads to unsoundness , as questions remain unaswered , what exactly was her offence , could her judges have taken irrational umbridge , were other forces at play ?

In creating a ghost unable to rest it may well moan , rattle its chains , whispering J U S T I C E and a hand pointing at the summarly judges whose pride had become gross toward free speach

18 October 2010 at 02:12  
Anonymous not a machine said...

The more I try and understand what all this is about (and some of the more unusual comments on here today) I cant help but wonder what on earth the school was thinking when it took this route.
The charge so far reported appears weak , slightly unhinged even as clearly those who have been judge and jury , complete with summarly but crafty resignation demand (for I doubt Miss Burlbasingh proposed it) have not really for seen that it all whiffs of a lack of justice . A gagging order is a nice touch to proclaiming a non sacking and yet we have the suspension , which is pre to judgement , so we have a somthing which is not gross discplinery matter being deemed one prior to any charges. Given the school could have not chosen to cross the rubicon and sorted it out in a much better light.
Not only has the head thought what Miss Burbalsingh said was wrong , but one her deputies was wrong to speak , ie a senior appontment.
Of course clashes are not rare in service sectors where poor abilities are wrongly promoted .

But heres the rub for the school , it is clear to many that truth has been warped perhaps subverted , what is there defence ? or perhaps what sort of speech would not have caused the forces of hell to be unleashed ? Indeed the gagging order now asks, if Miss Burbalsingh did not speak any truth and spoke profession untruths, what version of what many teachers see and experience in schools is the one that keeps ones job.
Mrs Bishop and the canon/governers/diocese is responsible for matters pertaining to her/thier school , to make a charge loosley based on what is a representation/state of the teaching profession and schooling ,I cant help but feel is beyond there remit.
Speaking for the many is somthing that is useually judged by the many , and Miss Burbalsinghs popularity and agreement went beyond the political party conference hall , she was not booed , proclaimed to be rubbish or lite .

This schools judgement will now become a mystery for a while , teaching professionals will dissect and examine , heads will be scratched , as the gagging leads to unsoundness , as questions remain unaswered , what exactly was her offence , could her judges have taken irrational umbridge , were other forces at play ?

In creating a ghost unable to rest it may well moan , rattle its chains , whispering J U S T I C E and a hand pointing at the summarly judges whose pride had become gross toward free speach

18 October 2010 at 02:13  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

She's obviously upset the hierarchy of that school and Mrs Bishop the executive head's nose has been well and truly put out of joint in that she possibly didn't run her speech by her beforehand, also the fact she, and not Mrs Bishop was invited to speak at such a prestigious and important conference. So she is seen as a threat. She would have been a rose in a garden of nettles so she is best out.

She could start a school of her own, she would make an excellent headmistress. I also think Ms Birbalsingh along with others would make a successful advisor to the new government, she is the breath of fresh air that they need if they want to change the education system, especially in south and east London and other inner city schools for the better in the future. She seems confident and fearless and would be a pioneer of change and discipline especially for multi ethnic children in inner-city schools as she understands their culture. I watched the speech on the day and the one on U tube and I don't think her motivation is narcissism or her ego, she genuinely cares passionately about kids' education and is so frustrated.

18 October 2010 at 02:28  
Blogger OldSouth said...

Disappointing, but unsurprising.
However, in the workings of Providence, she may have been done a favor.

Of course, the most cruel part of this ordeal is to be forced to leave behind the students she so obviously loves.

This story is far from over.

18 October 2010 at 04:12  
Anonymous PaganPride said...

Anon whatever - of course you are Colin - and very probably on the staff of this PR group the school thinks it can afford.

You comments do reflect the opinion of the majority of the public comments, they do not sit well with most dedicated teachers either(as referred to in a previous poast) - in fact you are probably Chris Paul's doppelganger and seriously lacking in logic or argument.

However you DO sound like a personal friend of a very flawed ego driven, pseudo academic - who is either ignorant of the proper form and usage of such 'honorary degrees' or so pridefully puffed up with self-importance she feels she in entitled to ignore such minor inconveniences.

You were wise to depart, it must be well past your bedtime.

18 October 2010 at 06:04  
Anonymous PaganPrice said...

Oh bugger - your comments DON'T reflect the opinions of the majority of the public comments.

Shouldn't drink cocoa at this time of night.

18 October 2010 at 06:05  
Anonymous Colin said...

Anonymous 0054

I am really not Miss Birbalsingh. Don't know how to prove it to you. I suppose it's easier to keep banging on about that than to answer any of the questions asked of you.

18 October 2010 at 06:39  
Anonymous Dack said...

A lot of talk in advance of the full facts. As much as I agree with Ms B's comments, I wish she hadn't implied that she was a lone voice from the classroom (she's not by any means, just a louder one).

I'd like to know a bit more about her career... She said (if I recall) that she'd been teaching in 5 schools over 10 years - 5 years of that time in one school? What has she managed to achieve in that time in addition to the respect of her students (laudable, but many of us have that)?

She spoke of removing the 'shackles' from heads (maybe she's changed her mind on that one...) and expelling students (has she thought about where to?)

There are implications beyond the soundbites. Maybe she has a track record of dealing with the reality of these issues in a school/LEA. I'd like to know if so.

18 October 2010 at 07:06  
Blogger starcourse said...

To be fair to Bishop, "The recipient...is entitled to be addressed as 'Doctor'. ...In practice, when a well-known figure outside the academic world receives an honorary doctorate, the recipient does not generally adopt the title of 'Doctor'...This, however, is a matter of the recipient's choice."

An FoI request for her citation and the reasons she was given a doctorate might be helpful. I'm still of the view that there is more to her doctorate than meets the eye.

18 October 2010 at 07:34  
OpenID caedmonscat said...

Your Grace:

I never cease to be surprised by the rancourous nitpicking that takes place amongst some anonymous commenters on your blog. Facts are facts. A very able and gifted teacher has been victimised by a malevolent headmistress (backed by a morally deficient board of governors) - who has evidently countermanded the decisions by her underlings to agree to Miss Birbalsingh's address to the conference and the use of pictures beforehand. The issue is simple: an injustice has been allowed to take place which stinks even more than the fish that my master Caedmon gives me for supper. But what would I know? I am a mere cat..

Btw - my master Caedmon sends his cordial greetings to your Grace.

18 October 2010 at 09:00  
Anonymous Dr Grendel Loafpacket said...

Why not simply postnominate "PhD hon. caus.", instead of pretending that ten years buried in management or whatever quango equates to 3+ years solid graft inventing new machinery, blowing up a lab in search of Higgs-Bosun, or trawling through endless ancient archives and rediscovering some lost text.

Styling yourself Dr in such circumstance is as poor form as calling yourself Professor after a term in an Italian college. It says a lot about the individual concerned.

Alternatively, your average Bognor University could limit student fee hikes by selling off 'useable' PhDs to the highest bidder. It would just be a grander version of what happens in TEFL already.

18 October 2010 at 10:38  
Blogger SadButMadLad said...

More in Daily Mail here - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1321407/Sacked-teacher-Katharine-Birbalsingh-Im-glad-I-spoke-failing-schools.html

18 October 2010 at 12:27  
Anonymous Old Anonymous said...

As I have posted previously, I think it unlikely that the Southwark Diocese will now do anything other than attempt to close ranks and "put these unfortunate events behind us for the good of the children" (or some similar sanctimony).

The Woodard Corporation (to which the schools is affiliated) is a different matter. They are very sensitive to criticism and don't need to be associated with the school. With some pressure they might cut them adrift, which would at least be a deserved embarrassment. They can be contacted here: http://www.woodard.co.uk/contact_us.htm

18 October 2010 at 16:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are several Colins here. Really.

Including, bizarrely, one who is actually Miss Birbalsingh.

She has conclusively proved this, by the way — constantly digging her own hole deeper and deeper — by taking such trouble to deny the suggestion every time it was made.

if you scroll back to 22.09 you will find that she took exactly 6 minutes to send off her denial, SEETHING WITH RAGE. "You are an idiot!"

This is simply not, by any objective standard, a normal reaction for someone who is being wrongly misidentified as Miss. B. Not even close. (Frankly, who would care?)

It is, on the other hand, an entirely appropriate reaction from Miss B — absolutely furious at being busted.

The NOT- Miss B is also a teacher (amazing!), and of the same age (weird!), initimately familiar with the "Snuffy" blog (incredible!), an aspiring writer (no!), and judging from the initial, gratingly sanctimonious poem comparing herself to victims of the holocaust, prone to both preachiness and extreme vanity.

Step forward, Miss B.

And stop digging, for goodness' sake.

18 October 2010 at 20:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 18 Oct 2043

Why would someone who can speak to the press and get her story out that way bother talking on here? To you?

19 October 2010 at 06:34  
Anonymous "Dr." Epictetus said...

Anonymous 2043

You seem very certain that one of the posters here is Miss Birbalsingh. You cite as evidence that the poster is roughly the same age as Miss B and feels as strongly as Miss B. Your theory is certainly possibly true, but on basic statistical facts it is much more likely to be someone else. A great many teachers on this site and elsewhere agree with her strongly. Most state school teachers are women. Many are her age. Maybe you need to accept that a very large number of people, including many teachers in state schools, do agree with Ms. Birbalsingh.

It seems to me much more likely that you are a PR agent of the school or a personal friend of one of the governors or headteachers there than that the poster you refer to is Miss B. While it is likely, I do not go so far as being certain that you are - the evidence won't bear that weight. In any case it does not matter much if you are, what is much more important is your argument against what Miss B. is saying, which is that it is wrong that we, as a society, regard it as a normal and acceptable state of affairs for schoolchildren to be raping and knifing each other, and shoving each other's heads through windows. I know three teachers and only three. All are women, all are in their thirties, all teach (or taught before retiring after being threatened with murder and rape) in state schools. All three agree wholeheartedly with Miss B. Maybe there is a majority of teachers who disagree with her, but it does not feel like that. I note that you simply will not answer Miss B's actual argument. You come across as being detached from reality (not a bad thing, given the nature of reality - I am slightly envious of you on that count, though not on your powers of argument and analysis.)

If what Miss B is saying is true, and I think it is, then all governors and heads who have presided over this state of affairs must be extirpated from their roles and replaced with people of sounder character, greater effectiveness in leadership, and proper compassion. The three decades of hand wringing ineffectiveness that has dumbed down our schools and allowed them to turn into breeding grounds (in many cases literally) for career criminals and unemployable single teenage mothers ought to end. It seems that you disagree with this. If so, the only reason I can imagine that a reasonable person would disagree is because they know that our schools are not like that, contrary to what Miss B. is saying. I'd be really interested to hear if you do have such evidence, because it matters. It would be a great thing to find that Miss B.'s description is not the general rule in inner city schools.

What Miss B. has been doing is telling us facts about schools, what you are doing is giving your opinion that her character is defective in some way. Her character may be so, though I very much doubt it, but what matters here are the facts of what is really happening in our schools. Are you capable of arguing those? So far you come across as being 100% part of the problem in our murderous schools rather than someone who actually cares about children and their education.


" 'Dr.' Epictetus"

19 October 2010 at 08:39  
Anonymous "Dr." Epictetus said...

Anonymous 2043

You seem very certain that one of the posters here is Miss Birbalsingh. You cite as evidence that the poster is roughly the same age as Miss B and feels as strongly as Miss B. Your theory is certainly possibly true, but on basic statistical facts it is much more likely to be someone else. A great many teachers on this site and elsewhere agree with her strongly. Most state school teachers are women. Many are her age. Maybe you need to accept that a very large number of people, including many teachers in state schools, do agree with Ms. Birbalsingh.

It seems to me much more likely that you are a PR agent of the school or a personal friend of one of the governors or headteachers there than that the poster you refer to is Miss B. While it is likely, I do not go so far as being certain that you are - the evidence won't bear that weight. In any case it does not matter much if you are, what is much more important is your argument against what Miss B. is saying, which is that it is wrong that we, as a society, regard it as a normal and acceptable state of affairs for schoolchildren to be raping and knifing each other, and shoving each other's heads through windows. I know three teachers and only three. All are women, all are in their thirties, all teach (or taught before retiring after being threatened with murder and rape) in state schools. All three agree wholeheartedly with Miss B. Maybe there is a majority of teachers who disagree with her, but it does not feel like that. I note that you simply will not answer Miss B's actual argument. You come across as being detached from reality (not a bad thing, given the nature of reality - I am slightly envious of you on that count, though not on your powers of argument and analysis.)

If what Miss B is saying is true, and I think it is, then all governors and heads who have presided over this state of affairs must be extirpated from their roles and replaced with people of sounder character, greater effectiveness in leadership, and proper compassion. The three decades of hand wringing ineffectiveness that has dumbed down our schools and allowed them to turn into breeding grounds (in many cases literally) for career criminals and unemployable single teenage mothers ought to end. It seems that you disagree with this. If so, the only reason I can imagine that a reasonable person would disagree is because they know that our schools are not like that, contrary to what Miss B. is saying. I'd be really interested to hear if you do have such evidence, because it matters. It would be a great thing to find that Miss B.'s description is not the general rule in inner city schools.

What Miss B. has been doing is telling us facts about schools, what you are doing is giving your opinion that her character is defective in some way. Her character may be so, though I very much doubt it, but what matters here are the facts of what is really happening in our schools. Are you capable of arguing those? So far you come across as being 100% part of the problem in our murderous schools rather than someone who actually cares about children and their education.


" 'Dr.' Epictetus"

19 October 2010 at 08:40  
Anonymous Indigo said...

Katherine Birbalsingh gave a good interview on R4 "Today" this morning, 07:52

Lightly self-deprecating and ringing with sincerity and restrained good sense, I thought.

19 October 2010 at 09:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

blah blah blah

19 October 2010 at 13:19  
Blogger happyuk said...

Anonymous

"All the way through the speech there were recurring references to teachers' low expectations of students, if i were a teacher, I would be insulted,"

If you were a teacher, you'd be in wrong game.

19 October 2010 at 21:58  
Anonymous "Dr." Epictetus said...

Anonymous

"All the way through the speech there were recurring references to teachers' low expectations of students, if i were a teacher, I would be insulted,"

Also all the way through the speech the interviewers tried to steer well clear of the main issue, which is do we as a society accept as a normal state of affairs that children in many state schools murder and rape each other. Instead they wanted soundbites to show Ms. B is an idiot, which they did not get.

When the interviewers finally got to the point, you could hear their shock. They clearly did not believe what Miss B. was saying, e.g. that despite being taught about Hitler ad infinitum it is typical for a sixteen year old in such a school not to know about the genocide by Germany of its Jews.

By their own reaction the BBC interviewers, all good lefties, proved one of Miss B's main points: many in the left establishment are in a state of denial about what is actually happening in schools. And they;d rather fire people like Miss B. that let evidence shatter their own smug prejudices.

This scene was repeated in Miss B's interview on Radio 5 yesterday but with a different example. Black schoolchildren saw Obama as black until he was elected, at which point they said he could not really be black because he is successful. It is this that is wrong, this that the left denies, and this that Miss B. wants to fix. Can any sane person disagree?

" 'Dr.' Epictetus"

20 October 2010 at 06:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just before speaking to the press, Miss B writes with the a sneer

"Why would someone who can speak to the press and get her story out that way bother talking on here? To you?"

(19 October 2010 06:34)

Please note that the ONLY person who knew at 6.34am that Miss B was about to the speak to the press, an hour or so later was Miss. B herself. At 6.34 the real Miss B. was up and just about to leave home for her 7.45 interview.

(Or is this just the SEVENTH weird coincidence between the lives of MIss B and her blogging twin?)

She had just read my post, in which I remind readers that she had posted a

"sanctimonious poem comparing herself to victims of the holocaust"

She goes to her interview, and about an hour later discusses...

...the holocaust.

Case closed.

Why do I keep going on about this?

Because I think that it is relevant to our assessment of her character that she is extravagantly vain and a consummate liar .

Sure, I could be wrong.

But I'm not.

20 October 2010 at 07:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, "consummate liar" is harsh. Now I'm feeling remorseful.

Incorrigible fibber.

It was a good interview, Miss.

20 October 2010 at 07:10  
Anonymous "Dr." Epictetus said...

Anonymous @ 0706

"Sure, I could be wrong, But I'm not." Which of these opposites do you really mean? You try to have everything both ways.

None of your arguments stack up. "Please note that the ONLY person who knew at 6.34am that Miss B was about to the speak to the press, an hour or so later was Miss. B herself. " Not true. The interviewers, their secretaries and support people, their spin doctors and possibly lawyers may have known. Miss B may have kept the news that the Today programme deemed the issues she raised important enough to interview her to herself, but it would be more normal for her to have told family, friends and possible her lawyers. At least two dozen and possibly several hundred people will have known.

Your attitude and ability to argue illustrates precisely the problem in education against which Miss B. has taken a stand. You have a strong emotion about something, so you assert that it must be true, and ignore all evidence and all causes for doubt.

It is not the case that Miss B. compared herself to victims of Germans genocide against jewry. In the interview she was asked to give an example, which she did. It it not surprising that others, including some on here, notice some similarity to the denial of free speech and the rewriting of history that so often precedes state sponsored violence against its citizens.

You can see as many coincidences as you want, yet you are scrupulous in avoiding the main issue that Miss B. raises, which is whether we want the normal state of affairs in many inner city schools to be one in which children knife, murder and rape each other without teachers doing anything much about it. Can you at least say where you stand on this issue? Do you think it is a problem? Do you think that the problem is confined to just one school? Do you think teachers do a reasonable job in these schools to make it clear to children that this sort of behaviour is not tolerated?

" 'Dr' Epictetus"

20 October 2010 at 12:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Miss B. on those issues and have always said so.

That isn't the point, as never has been.

The point is that she has been lying to us on this blog, and another is that the original post was staggeringly narcissistic. These are relevant facts.

True, a few dozen people knew about the interview. And you're saying one of those few dozen was probably doing all the blogs all along. Really??????

20 October 2010 at 12:49  
Anonymous Epictetus said...

Anonymous

Thanks for the reply, apologies for saying you had not been clear. (There are a few anonymous folk here here).

I don't agree it is a fact that Miss B has been commenting here on this blog. It is your suspicion, I agree it is possible, but on the actual facts I think it unlikely, because, statistically, it is far more likely to be someone similar to her who agrees with her point of view. Judging by the responses here and elsewhere, and taking her claim (in an interview, I think) to have had several job offers to run or advise schools from the USA to Sweden, she probably has a large set of new online acquaintances.

An example of the ease with which we can mistakenly feel that the merely possible is the probable is the following thought experiment. Take the statement "Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken and very bright, She majored in Philosophy. As a student she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and participated in anti nuclear demonstrations." Most people assume that Linda is more likely to be a bank cashier who is active in the feminist movement than she is to be a bank cashier. Of course this is a false conclusion and the reasoning that gets to this conclusion ignores simple facts and logic. (From Tversky & Kahneman). I agree that it is possible that Miss B. is posting here, but statistically it is unlikely, and from what you have explained of your reasoning I believe that you are making the same mistake as people who in the Tversky example fixate on feminists.

A totally different reason why I doubt you are right about Miss B. posting here is that she comes across in interviews and in her speech as being straightforward, somewhat naive and very honest. Your hypothesis is not consistent with my direct impression of watching her.

"Epictetus"

20 October 2010 at 13:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A well-reasoned response.

I'm not making that mistake. It's a little more complicated.

Even if I were making that mistake — look at where we now stand.

We're looking for a female teacher in her late 30's who has worked in schools like Miss B's and agrees in every way with Miss B and has eerily intimate knowledge of her state of mind ("she's worried about her future") knows her blog in detail, has literary aspirations, has a similar rhetorical and preachy style, and somehow knew at 6.30 in the morning that Miss B. was about to be interviewed, and chose to post then rather than at a time that would have ruled out Miss. B or not pointed to her in the same way (e.g., during the interview, or after it), and who gets inexplicably angry at being misidentified as Miss B.

Go ahead — find your mystery person. But it will be a sort of miracle. Better still, why doesn't she just identify herself, and then the matter will be closed, an Miss B's honesty will be vindicated?

20 October 2010 at 14:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh ok. I admit it. I am Miss Birbalsingh!

I must be Miss B because, as you know, there aren't many teachers who are women or in their late 30s.

I knew she was to be interviewed and so posted at the exact time to put you off the scent and not because it was a coincidence.

I got angry at being misidentified not because I am not her and you kept insisting I was and were therefore impugning the character of someone who I know doesn't deserve it but because that was likely to put you off the scent.

I have worked in similar schools not because most state schools in London are like that but because I am she.

I know her blog not because all the other similarities mean it is natural I should find it interesting but rather because I wrote it.

I have a similar style not because I share all the other similarities and was a teacher but because I am the same person.

I must be Miss Birbalsingh because Miss Birbalsingh comes across as very stupid and would probably, should she decide to anonymously contribute to this blog, make all the "mistakes" you mention.

PS I don't remember writing I was a teacher (although I was - maybe it was the preachy style?). I had no idea when I was writing because I now live in a different time zone as, not having Miss B's bravery, I left the UK. I have no knowledge of her state of mind but have enough empathy to imagine that she must be worried about her future given she no longer has a job.

This is a very boring thread now and I wish it would stop. The only reason I am responding is because I really dislike the idea that you would believe Miss Birbalsingh to be guilty of such dubious practice.
Nonetheless, I have no intention of identifying myself for reasons that I can't share. Will you?

20 October 2010 at 14:59  
Anonymous Indigo said...

Gosh, Anonymong clearly WISHES Miss B was commenting here - why? - I don't believe she is.

I imagine that she is job-hunting on the web, talking to her publisher, looking for the positives in her situation (you know, never a door closes but another opens), being very careful about what she says to the Diocese, having a little "me" time as anyone would who had to try to make sense of the firestorm she has been through. And wishing that she had not been persuaded to leave a lovely, well-run school where black children did well and take up a post in a school prowled by children who had stabbed other children and yet - incomprehensibly - had not been excluded.

20 October 2010 at 16:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Different time zone? Ok, you've convinced me.

Sorry if I took it a bit too far. I thought it was fun, catching you out — and I thought you were quite enjoying trying to outwit me.

But you're not even in the UK, so obviously you aren't Miss B.

Here are all of your posting times, by the way, in UK time.

6.39am
6.34am
2.59pm
10.49pm
10.47pm
10.43pm
8.07pm
9.39pm
9.56pm
2.22pm
10.09pm

Nothing after 11pm, or before 6.30am.

Your claim is fully accepted. This data obviously proves your point, because it would clearly be highly unusual for someone to go to bed at 11pm and get up at 6.30. You're much more likely to be in America, where there is a rule that no blogging is allowed before 11am, and where all blogging must stop after 6pm, or perhaps China, where there is a rather eccentric local rule that blogging must cease at 9 in the morning, for the traditional 8 hour middle-of-the day nap.

I shan't say another word.

Why would I need to?

20 October 2010 at 17:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, 17:10

I don't even understand what you are saying. If I was in the UK these would be sensible times to post. They'd also be sensible if I were in any other part of the world because, as you say, there is no rule against posting at a particular time.

And all the other points? You're not going to respond to them?

You're a very strange person.

21 October 2010 at 07:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indigo,

your "understanding" of what Miss Birbalsingh is likely to be feeling and doing right now proves that you, too, must be Miss Birbalsingh.

Further proof (not that it is needed) is shown by the time at which you posted and the fact you appear to agree with her.

Admit it!

21 October 2010 at 07:24  
Anonymous "Dr." Epictetus said...

Anonymous 20 Oct 1710

Again, you put too much weight on the actual evidence. The other countries in which your antagonist could be apart from the UK include:

France,
Spain,
Greece
Italy
Iceland
Ireland
Denmark
Holland
Belgium
Italy
Turkey
Malta
Cyprus
Portugal
South Africa
Anywhere else in Africa
etc.


I've also been in touch with a chumette of mine who is a teacher in the USA, almost the same age as Miss B., also taught in inner city schools there with a high proportion of black children. She had already heard of Miss B's case and expressed identical views to your antagonist.

I hear your evidence, but it is still much more likely that there are a great many teachers out there like Miss B., like her in terms of their views as to the problem and solution, and like her in age, sex and teaching experience. One of Miss B's points is that most people are either ignorant of the problem or else in denial about it. My own experience is from tw sources. First, talking to friends who are teachers, a very small sample size admittedly, and secondly from the statistics for murder by gangs of predominantly but not exclusively black schoolchildren in London. This leads me to believe that you illustrate one of the problems raised by Miss B. - many intelligent and sensible people refuse to see the problem and, it seems to me, use their intellects to select evidence in a way that is improbable but consistent with their pre-existing beliefs rather than that is probable but shocks them about the true awfulness of some of our state schools. This is a common problem, a recent example being the US military's inability to see, never mind admit, that its Walter Reed hospital was a disaster.

"Epictetus"

21 October 2010 at 07:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I don't even understand what you are saying. If I was in the UK these would be sensible times to post. They'd also be sensible if I were in any other part of the world because, as you say, there is no rule against posting at a particular time."

This thread is dead but I'm going to add this anyway.

I'm amazed you people let Miss B. dupe you all like this. Talk about political views twisting our view of the evidence.

Look at what she says here. This is self-evident nonsense. If she were in China or Australia or America, then those times would OBVIOUSLY NOT be sensible. They would be utterly and totally bizarre times to post. True, they would be LEGAL (which is her only, feeble response); they would be theoretically POSSIBLE — but they would not in any normal sense of the word be sensible.

She'd be blogging in the middle of the night and then mysteriously stopping at just the time when everyone else blogs. She'd be mysteriously not blogging for exactly the time that most people in the UK are asleep.

THis is OBVIOUSLY excellent evidence that she is lying about being in a different time zone.

And why would she be lying? Come on you dullards.

FIGURE....IT...OUT.

Epictetus, you list a whole load of countries she could be in. But look at your list, for goodness' sake. Those places are almost all in the SAME time zone as us — or one or two hours different.

Now look at her lie: "I had no idea when I was writing because I now live in a different time zone as, not having Miss B's bravery, I left the UK."

(Note the CLASSIC Miss B vanity-quip about her own bravery.)

Now, there is NO WAY this means "I am in Holland" Or Belgium, or France, or Malta. It would be a totally ridiculous and misleading thing to say in that case. The clear meaning of the words is "I am in a country where I didn't even know if it was morning or evening, day or night, in the UK"

And it is a lie. Plain and simple. Her blogging times prove it.

"And all the other points? You're not going to respond to them?"

I didn't bother, MIss B, because they were so utterly feeble. Frankly, they read like a confession, because you sounded so obviously rattled. Plus, your refusal to identify yourself, or even say where you are in your "different time zone" was conclusive. You didn't even have the nous to hold back from responding at your usual 7am time — when you've just got out of bed, IN THE UK. Lucky for you your audience is so extraordinarily slow on the uptake — they're too busy cheering to see that 2 and 2 make 4.

You can't just list seven or eight coincidences ONE BY ONE, dismiss each as a coincidence, and think that settles the matter. Each one considered in itself might be a coIncidence. Taken together there is NO WAY IN HELL that your perfect match with Miss B is a coincidence.

Plus, we now need to add the final one. On your absurd theory — the one you're pretending to advocate in your fake persona — it's just ANOTHER coincidence that, although in a different time zone, you blog at times that exactly correspond to UK sleeping times.

Rubbish. You're a barefaced liar. And a coward. All liars are cowards.

27 October 2010 at 17:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One last thing.

Look at this again.

"I had no idea when I was writing because I now live in a different time zone as, not having Miss B's bravery, I left the UK."

Notice the grammatical quirk — ask yourself "Is there anything in this sentence I would write just slightly differently"?


Yes, it's distinctive use of 'as'. Most of us would say, at that point, 'because'. Or rewrite to avoid the awkward 'as'. It's just a minor thing. A little stylistic oddity.

Here's the same quirk:

"The system is broken, as it keeps poor children poor."

Half the media quotations of this line leave out the 'as' in the paraphrase or change it — because it's just ever so slightly awkward. It's also a fingerprint.

27 October 2010 at 23:44  

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