Mayor Boris on Katharine Birbalsingh: ‘Reinstate her!’
After the media furore following Katharine’s Birbalsingh’s ‘suspension’ last week for delivering a speech to the Conservative Party conference, the Southwark Diocesan Board of Education issued a statement to the media which was not only a highly public and humiliating rebuke of Ms Birbalsingh, but it included this assurance:
Miss Birbalsingh was asked to work at home on Thursday and Friday and will return to work next week.‘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 Irene Bishop to permit Ms Birbalsingh to return to work at the St Michael and All Angels Academy.
As far as the media are concerned, she did indeed return to work on Monday of this week.
Even the Facebook campaign has ceased and the page is closed.
The curious thing is, when one phones the Academy and asks to speak to Ms Birbalsingh, she is ‘not available’.
Presumably the Southwark Diocesan Board of Education, being a wholesome body operating under the aegis of the Church of England, is populated with truth-telling Christians.
When they issue a statement, it must be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Notwithstanding that 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.
Yet it was the part-time ‘flying’ Executive Headteacher who was so angered and ordered Ms Birbalsingh to ‘work from home’.
It must be difficult being a remote deputy headteacher. Is Ms Birbalsingh expected to deliver lessons via Skype and issue detentions by email?
How does she collect exercise books to mark?
Having said that, Dr Bishop appears to manage quite well being a completely remote Executive Headteacher.
Or perhaps she doesn’t.
And this epistemological gap is the primary cause of Ms Birbalsingh’s apparent continuing ‘suspension’, because the part-time Executive Headteacher’s right hand appears to have very little knowledge of what the full-time Headteacher’s left hand is doing.
Mayor Boris to the rescue:
…the most important voice in the great university debate belongs this week not to Lord Browne or any of the politicians – but to Katharine Birbalsingh, the deputy head of a south London school. She has now become the latest great martyr to what I can only call political correctness. She was sent home from her school after having the effrontery to suggest that Lefty thinking in education was inhibiting discipline, standards and competition. But isn't she right?The ‘move’ was polite and fairly low-key.
Isn't she right to point to the central importance of discipline and the authority of teachers in driving up educational standards? She strikes me as being a principled person who has reached the end of her tether, and I welcome the move to reinstate her.
A movement will be neither.
If Dr Irene Bishop and the Academy’s governors and sponsors wish to avoid this manifestly political persecution escalating into a rather more aggressive and high-profile campaign for vindication, His Grace humbly suggests that they fully embrace Ms Birbalsingh’s manifest talents, however irritating they might find her mouth, and thank God that she has come to redeem their failing school.