Friday, October 08, 2010

Teacher who spoke at Tory conference ‘suspended’ by Head

Well, ‘sent home’ actually, which is some clever pseudo-legal way of avoiding immediate suspension while the (Executive) Head Teacher and Governing Body of the St Michael and All Angels Academy in Camberwell decide how to deal with having a Conservative-supporting deputy headteacher in their midst.

It must be awful for them.

In a highly-unionised, Labour-dominated, Socialist-obsessed profession, having a repentant former-Marxist in the staffroom must be like marking with the enemy.

Or formulating schemes of work with a traitor.

Or discussing continuing professional development with a socio-political retard.

Miss Snuffy, aka Katharine Birbalsingh, an Oxford graduate and teacher of French, ‘came out’ at the Conservative Party conference two days ago, where she disclosed: “I have come here today to expose some of the truths about the education system. My experience of teaching for over a decade in five different schools has convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that the system is broken, as it keeps poor children poor.”

She got a standing ovation from the conference.

But has been stamped under foot in her school.

La Leçon aujourd’hui, mes enfants, is that telling la vérité will get you into a whole load of merde. You will be humiliated (look it up) and ostracised (don’t bother); your professional reputation will be ruined and you might even be sacked.

Truth is truth, to the end of reckoning.

What a burden it is.

Ms Birbalsingh is now facing potential disciplinary action and even dismissal for daring to speak out about the shambolic state of state education. She has been made to ‘work from home’ after her (executive) headteacher, governors and sponsors consider whether or not she has brought her school into disrepute.

Pray, how does a deputy headteacher work from home?

She’s only been in her position for three weeks.

But her truth-telling has caused ‘negative publicity’, you see, by talking of ‘leftist ideology’ and a ‘broken system’.

And so she had to go.

Even though she was not criticising her colleagues, her employer, her school or her pupils at all, but the system which binds them.

One can scarcely think of little else that the school could have done to establish the truth of every word Ms Birbalsingh spoke. To send her home is an outrageous reaction, and by it they bring themselves into disrepute.

Ms Birbalsingh loves her school, she loves children and she loves education – enough, it seems, to die for it. All she wanted to do was to highlight the barriers that stand in the way of improving education in Britain.

But God forbid a that a teacher might exercise freedom of speech.

Unless that speech is Marxist, leftist and statist.

How does a deputy headteacher who has blown the whistle on a sclerotic culture of excuses, criticised low standards, derided arbitrary targets and league tables, disparaged political correctness and poured scorn over the pervasive ‘leftist ideology’ in state education ever again command the respect of a staffroom populated with pathological Socialists?

The unenlightened pedagogues will say there is no redemption: the heretic must burn.

But His Grace will show them a better way.

They must respect the foundational liberties of the nation; understand the Christian settlement upon which state education is based; appreciate that Plato’s academy curriculum is founded upon the primacy of epistemology; and open their minds to challenge the limitations of their own myopic worldview.

If they cannot do this, then they forfeit the right to participate in the development of the minds, bodies and spirits of the children to which their professed vocation has drawn them to dedicate their lives.

Those educators who spit on Katharine Birbalsingh are those who inflict perpetual harm upon the nation’s most vulnerable.

Those who despise and reject her are the very ones who dedicate their lives to keeping the poor children poor.

Perhaps this is too much truth for St Michael and All Angels Academy.

And so Ms Birbalsingh sits ‘working from home’, while her governing body considers whether or not her Toryism is as perverse as theft, cheating in exams or allegations of paedophilia. Certainly, by sending her home, they equate speaking at a Conservative Party conference with gross professional misconduct.

The (Executive) Headteacher you can perhaps forgive: she too is a victim.

The Governing Body you must humour: they are, by definition, amateur.

But the sponsors are the Church of England.

And His Grace will be having words.

Very serious words indeed with any meddlesome priests who presume to sit in judgement in this case.

And if they dare to despise and reject Ms Birbalsingh simply for telling it like it is, His Grace will have such revenges on them all,
That all the world shall - he will do such things -
What they are, yet he knows not: but they shall be
The terrors of the earth!

You mess with Miss Snuffy; you mess with His Grace.

You have been warned.


Blogger Right Friendly said...

I hadn't realised that was Miss Snuffy! Brilliant at conference, and well deserved her standing ovation.

I think there are many out here in the Blogosphere who feel the same way you do, Your Grace, and would also defend this true lady against the forces of evil that are clearly at work here.

I am intrigued that the Word Verification is "anger" (!) I kid you not, and have taken a copy as proof :-)

8 October 2010 at 00:39  
Blogger Oswin said...

Bravo Your Grace! Bravo Miss Snuffy too!

What a spectacular 'home-goal' by the Headteacher, Governing Body and Sponsors! What could possibly have gone through so many mediocre minds to elicit such a perverse and contrary reaction???

It simply beggars belief!

8 October 2010 at 00:50  
Blogger Woman on a Raft said...

I am absolutely staggered.

Appearing at a political conference is completely within her rights and no disciplinary action should follow from it.

This attitude has got to stop at once and merely proves that everything she ever said was true.

If ever there was a woman who deserved to be either a head teacher or a Lord, it is this one.

The Head Teacher and Governing body are about to find themselves at the heart of a storm. The quicker we remove the head and install her, the better for every child in the school.

I expect to see Gove intervene within the next 24 hours and if he gives any weedy nonsense about the limits of his authority, he will find he loses what little he has.

(Is Your Grace going to keep up with this writing things where I can only thump the desk and agree vigorously?)

8 October 2010 at 01:13  
Anonymous Obi Wan said...

first time I've seen Cranmer really roused.

I like.

"Beware the fury of a patient man."

8 October 2010 at 01:55  
Anonymous not a machine said...

Disciplinary action ? bringing school into disrepute ? I thought we had just voted the stasi out of office .
I cannot see it your grace , although I can see how they may think there is some meat in it.
The question will be who has raised the complaint .

8 October 2010 at 04:09  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Hmmm. All rather over the top, but she put her head firmly on the block and it is going to be difficult to calm the storm now.

She had some 'interesting' names for her pupils, and I think there could be one or two parents wondering who was who.

Anyways, good luck with it all. She most certainly did highlight an awful lot that was wrong, and there are many readers of her blog who will attest to this. Stoke up those fires Your Grace!

8 October 2010 at 06:20  
Blogger OldSouth said...

Go GIT'em, Your Grace, as we say around heah'.

BTW, is there a video and/or transcript of her speech available to view by folks in the Colonies?

8 October 2010 at 06:41  
Anonymous gyges said...

From what I saw of her speech, she did breach the confidence of some of her pupils. As to any other causes of action; I'll wait until more information emerges before forming an opinion.

8 October 2010 at 07:16  
Blogger JaE said...

... well said your Grace, when do you expect the brave teacher to be taken to the stake for immolation on the pyre of truth ....

8 October 2010 at 07:42  
Blogger Gnostic said...

His Grace rides, quite rightly, to Miss Snuffy's defence. But the lady got a standing ovation at the Tory conference so what of iDave and Michael "the Conservative party is now the party of the teacher" Gove? Are they going to mount their white chargers and make good on their rhetoric too?

I bloody well hope so!

8 October 2010 at 08:20  
Blogger Alan Douglas said...

From Dizzy : Apparently her fate is in the hand of Dr Irene Bishop, the "executive head teacher" of St Michael and All Angels Academy.

Might this be the same Dr Irene Bishop who was head teacher at St Saviour's and St Olave's in 2001 and allowed her school to be used to launch the Labour 2001 general election?

Errr.... yes.

Alan Douglas

8 October 2010 at 08:20  
Blogger Weekend Yachtsman said...

I am sure there will be plenty of private schools happy to snap her up should the State machine be so foolish as to dispense with her services.

8 October 2010 at 08:46  
Anonymous gyges said...

From what I can gather two things are happening.

1) She appears to have breached the confidence of her pupils in the speech.

2) She appears to have breached a contractual obligation to the school.

I would guess that she has been 'sent home' on the basis of point 2. Point 2, however, is easily defeated by article 10; the only thing giving point 2 any traction is the ignorance of the hierarchical superiors at the academy.

Point 1 is more interesting. Commentators haven't grasped its importance; nor have the pupils concerned, nor have the hierarchical superiors at the academy. However, this has teeth. Although the breach is between pupil and teacher, the academy is vicariously liable.

Very interesting from a law perspective.

8 October 2010 at 08:47  
Anonymous Caedmon's Cat said...

I am terribly sorry that Miss Snuffy has had to run such a gauntlet as a result of her honesty regarding the state of education. My wise master Caedmon informs me that this is sadly to be expected from a profession which has been corrupted from within by Marxist maggots for years. He also is of the opinion that this highlights the scale of the challenge for all who wish to see this vileness reversed; I trust my master's judgement on these things, as I am but a cat.

8 October 2010 at 08:50  
Anonymous len said...

There are two distinct versions of'truth'.
There is the 'agreed' truth which is the Politically Correct version which everyone is supposed to go along with.
Then there is the 'actual'truth which people know but which is not Politically Correct to speak.

Miss Snuffy deserves support ,and admiration for pointing out the realities of the situation, for drawing attention to the failures of the system for without acknowledgement of the problem there is no hope of change.

8 October 2010 at 09:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace

My fellow Judaeo-Christians it is written:

‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.’

The Book of Proverbs (Chap. 31 verse 8)

It is a foggy morning in England, and last night Big Ben struck thirteen.

Since when has telling the truth become an offence? Why is it now that telling the truth has become a revolutionary act that attracts the wrath of the authorities?

After thirteen long years of the dark night of Socialism they know that their ideology is morally bankrupt. They know that they have failed the children. They know they have failed an entire generation.

But how do they still seek to protect it? What is their method? By what devices do they seek to conceal the great lie of Socialism?

How well the great Russian dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn put it:

‘Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence. Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his method is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle.’

Why did her freedom to speak truth to their power inspire this reaction of theirs?

As one of our own prophets, George Orwell, wrote long ago:

‘Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.’

But why this reaction of theirs in this moment of time?

Because she committed a revolutionary act; she dared to tell the truth about our broken education system:

‘During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.’

She went against the entire edifice that the Socialists have constructed upon lies, deceit, threats, sanctions, ostracism and show trials (the school disciplinary tribunal).

But the victims of this entire system are not only those that it deposits in the public arena (for humiliation) but the very people who operate it: the (Executive) Head teacher. Again and again Solzhenitsyn pointed out in his novels that the very people who operated the corrupt Soviet system became the victims as they too, in turn, were denounced:

‘In our country the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the State.’

8 October 2010 at 09:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"1) She appears to have breached the confidence of her pupils in the speech."

What confidence? The relationship between a teacher and pupil is a relationship of trust but - unlike that between a doctor and patient - is not inherently a relationship of confidence; it is only where there an understanding that something is confidential that such a duty implies. The behaviour of children in class is not confidential - nor could it be with dozens of others present. Identifying the children could be - as in the Dispatches case - but presumably pseudonymous references are fine.

8 October 2010 at 09:13  
Anonymous Flossie said...

Bravo!! Bravo, and Bravo!!

8 October 2010 at 09:14  
Anonymous Caedmon's Cat said...

My pet mouse has revealed the email address of the offending school if anyone would like to constructively comment:

8 October 2010 at 09:19  
Anonymous Mike Stallard said...

We are starting up a secondary school here in Wisbech, Cambs. The very saddest part is the total lack of interest (despite our very best efforts in all the right places) to interest even one of our very many sclerotic Churches.
At the 'top" we have bureaucrats who are after saving their own backsides. At the bottom we have geriatric pensioners who couldn't care less really. In the middle we have parents who are at the end of their tethers.
Meanwhile there is a huge gap: no teenagers in Church. So where, I ask myself, are they?

8 October 2010 at 09:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic, but I wonder what you make of this bit of heresy that has been posted this morning at

8 October 2010 at 09:24  
Blogger Man in a Shed said...

As I said in comments on your earlier post - the Left will want is revenge.

Remember education is the great hope for the left. Ensuring the mass of people are impoverished and can't think is a prerequisite to the socialist utopia they want to bring about. They will not forgive nor forget Miss Snuffy.

8 October 2010 at 09:50  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Miss Snuffy’s all too media savvy speech at the Tory conference is part of a plan to swap her career in education for one in politics, she is clearly hoping to be snapped up as a special adviser to Gove (I don’t think she will be sucessful).

Her ridiculously named school had no alternative but to suspend her, in fact they should have the bottle to sack her and save the taxpayer the expense of paying her a full salary for doing nothing.

As to her description of the state of education; perhaps some who comment here speak from personal experience as a teacher or governor but I suspect many jump on the “they are all Marxists” bandwagon because it fits their right wing prejudice.

I am no supporter of the left but it is not true to say that the education system is overrun with lefties. There is no doubt that there are still some loony left Education authorities, stuck in the class war of the 70’s but no reason to think that they are the majority.

I was a governor in a (11-16) community college about 10 years ago and in my experience there was no political bias either in the school or the local Education authority. The teaching staff got on with the job and the result was above average GCSE results.

Miss Snuffy expresses her “new” views with the zeal of a convert and that makes me suspicious of her character and her motives. It wouldn’t surprise me if her next public appearance is on Big Brother or perhaps a new show, “I’m a Teacher Get Me Out of Here!

8 October 2010 at 09:51  
Blogger Praguetory said...

The PA's principal told me she wouldn't deal with queries relating to this case, and referred me to a communications person. Therefore, I have left a message for Wendy Robins on 0207 939 9436 making my thoughts clear on the importance of political freedom.

8 October 2010 at 09:55  
Blogger Praguetory said...

Oxymoron alert from Graham Davis' website - Cambridge Secular Society was formed in 2009 to provide a forum for "likeminded" "freethinkers". Such a free-thinker is Graham that he thinks that the wrong type of political opinions should be punished.

I hate to break it to Graham, but every teacher I know who has recently worked in London's comprehensives feels the same way about their colleagues. Should the witch-hunt begin?

8 October 2010 at 10:00  
Anonymous Naive Bob said...

Hey, hang on a minute...

I can't find this story on the BBC anywhere - are we sure it's true??

8 October 2010 at 10:01  
Anonymous Kay100 said...

She only started at this new school 3 weeks ago, it is quite obvious that she was not writing about pupils there.


She has been excellent about concealing the many schools and pupils she wrote about.
Mainly by writing about historical events, never naming any of the schools or the pupil.

This is a spiteful and vindictive act by a head who has confused her Labour Party membership with her duty to the school.

8 October 2010 at 10:14  
Blogger Woman on a Raft said...

But how do they still seek to protect it? What is their method?

They use the spinners Grebot Donnelly

Grebot Donnelly also worked for St Saviour's and St Olave's, which as has been mentioned, is also where Dr Irene Bishop, the "executive head" (it means even more headdy) worked.

Fancy that.

8 October 2010 at 10:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of the blog still available in Google's cache at

8 October 2010 at 10:24  
Blogger Gnostic said...

I fear Mr Davis has missed the thrust of Miss Snuffy's speech. The point is that the current system sets many kids up to fail from day one. As the parent of a gifted child that was failed miserably by the state (he was treated like a freak and made to feel worthless for bothering teachers with too many searching questions) before I sought private means, I know, from firsthand experience, what I'm talking about.

Maybe Mr Davis would care to cast his eye over some of the "quality" GCSE papers that give unfit for purpose qualifications to kids? The standard has fallen alarmingly over the last decade or so - at the behest of a leftist regime.

Perhaps he could also further discuss why Miss Snuffy's sudden suspension, after addressing the Tory conference, is in no way pollitical since she was obviously the woman for the job prior to this?

8 October 2010 at 10:27  
Anonymous JayBee said...

Did the Head and Governing Body act independently, or were they leant on?

Perhaps Harriet Harman the Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham might care to investigate and enlighten us.

8 October 2010 at 10:28  
Blogger Clameur de Haro said...

A bit late, but it is a pleasure to remark Your Grace's return.

Could you please pass on to Miss Snuffy my own congratulations on her speech, and good wishes in her ordeal to come, and, I suspect, the similar sentiments of many of Your Grace's readers.

8 October 2010 at 10:37  
Blogger Victor, NW Kent said...

Irene Bishop in 2001 - report by the BBC.

Party politics and schools do not mix well, says the head teacher propelled into the political limelight on the first day of the general election campaign.

Irene Bishop, head teacher
While the school, St Saviour's and St Olave's enjoyed "an historic occasion", she said that she has been less pleased by the subsequent attempts to use her as a political pundit.

"Schools should be apolitical. Of course they depend on politicians for funding, but they shouldn't be seen to be in favour of any particular party."

This suspension is a disgraceful act and should be challenged with the utmost vigour.

8 October 2010 at 10:59  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

I only wish Your Grace had felt such strong personal affection for Philip Lardner who was treated even more unjustly by the conservative party as well as by his state employers.

8 October 2010 at 11:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the Benefit of Old South (at 06.41), go to this site and move the slider to one hour and five minutes in.

Watch and cheer!

8 October 2010 at 11:22  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Magnificent, Your Grace, quite magnificent.

8 October 2010 at 11:28  
Blogger George said...

History shows that the messenger is always shot.
Perhaps Ms Chakribarti can take time orff her propagandising and join your grace in dealing with Ms Snuffy's turbulent employers. Who/ Whom, as ever, demonstrate appalling hypocrisy, an inbuilt socialist trait that needs correction.

8 October 2010 at 11:29  
Blogger Unsworth said...

Your Grace

I write as a Governor of well over 20 years' experience in various schools - Primary and Secondary - and having Chaired and Vice-Chaired etc for many years.

This move by the Headteacher ought to have been brought to the attention of the Chair and probably the Governing Body, prior to action. I very much doubt that has happened and, were I the Chair, I would be asking the Head why she has seen fit to do this and why she has - by her own actions - caused the reputation of the school to be questioned and created the situation where the local and national Press are crawling all over everything. Is this school now to be regarded as a political bear garden or, as it should be, a politically neutral (excellent?) centre of learning?

True, the Head may be acting within her Terms (only just, I suspect) however she is certainly taking draconian action which could easily be construed as entirely politically motivated. The question one has to ask is what damage to the school (if any) has Ms Birbalsingh's action caused? Frankly her actions will, if anything, have enhanced the reputation of the teaching staff at the school, given that her performance on stage was so impressive and impassioned.

Had this happened in any of my schools my reaction would have been to tell the Head to admonish the member of staff for not operating by the book, to tell her not to take such action again without obtaining the necessary permissions - but also to thank her for raising the profile of the school.

Miss Birbalsingh's actions do not merit suspension at all. What suspension does is to silence Ms Birbalsingh thereby allowing the Head to become the focus of attention. Is that what she really wants? Is that what the Governing Body wants? Well, the Chair of Governors will doubtless now find him/herself being doorstepped. In all probability the LEA will now be looking at its position, too. This does not bode well for the school, does it?

One final point: Is Ms Birbalsingh a member of a Teachers' trade union? If so, I wonder how they might react.

8 October 2010 at 11:39  
Blogger Graham Davis said...


You are missing the point. I don’t support the left but she placed her employers in an impossible position after her identity and the school at which she teaches became known. This lady is clearly out for herself, whether her opinions are valid is another matter. But fawn all you like, seeking confirmation of your existing prejudice is the opposite of free thinking.

Unsworth said

I would be asking the Head why she has seen fit to do this and why she has - by her own actions - caused the reputation of the school to be questioned and created the situation where the local and national Press are crawling all over everything.

I hope that you are no longer a governor as your comments are completely wrong-headed. It was Miss Snuffy who exposed the school to public attention not the Head. Only time will tell but I am willing to bet Mr Snuffy will turn out to be an attention grabbing self promoter, it will be interesting to hear what parents and colleagues think of her actions.

8 October 2010 at 11:55  
Blogger Old Holborn said...

Her blog is an impressive CV for a stunning future in the private sector

8 October 2010 at 12:00  
Anonymous len said...

Mr Davis,
Are you not doing exactly what you have accused the Catholic Church of doing.
Protecting the 'Establishment'( the School or the Education System in this case) at all costs regardless as to what the truth of the situation is?

8 October 2010 at 12:17  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

"... were I the Chair, I would be asking the Head why she has seen fit to do this ..."
Not a chance. If you were the Chair you would simply have been sat upon.

8 October 2010 at 12:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Snuffy took down her blog, I nearly posted this:

"Dear Snuffy, sorry to see you go, but from your tone I expect you are about to go public. I'm presuming you'll be addressing a major public event, or you're about to write for a Tory paper. Hope you haven't destroyed your career."

Oh God. I wish I had been wrong.

8 October 2010 at 12:29  
Blogger Wrinkled Weasel said...

I want to add my word of support for Miss Snuffy. I am afraid Man in Shed never said a truer word that all the lefties want is revenge.

Revenge is a building block of Fascism and Hatred is the mortar.

8 October 2010 at 12:30  
Blogger Simon said...

With a caviat about not knowing that reasons for this action, I posted this over at my site:
Time and time again I have argued that free speech is not a pic n mix, either everyone has it or no one has it.

The left-wing educational establishment freely allows its Marxists to criticise, threaten and cajole us all but as soon as one stands up and says the Emperor has no clothes, the principle of free speech goes out of the window.

Miss Snuffy was no longer "one of us" and has to be punished.

8 October 2010 at 12:37  
Anonymous Sandy Jamieson said...

Every Easter one is entertained by some teacher or even on occasion, Head Teacher making some stupid or extreme comment at their Union's Annual Conference.

Even no doubt now some teacher is saying that its a good idea to blow upkids who disagree with the current fad on climate change.

Will any of them be brought to account? "Now don't be silly- they're one of us"

8 October 2010 at 12:50  
Blogger Unsworth said...

@ Graham Davis

It's pretty immature to think that this lady's employers were placed in 'an impossible position'. They were not. Her identity and school are actually of little importance - or do you suggest that all teachers and schools should make strenuous efforts not to be identifed? If so, why? Why, for that matter, is it perfectly OK for teachers to attend a Labour Party or TUC Conference and give speeches from the platform condemning 'Tory' policy and eulogising Labour policy?

What is so crass about the Head's actions is that they are an escalation of the situation from one of difficulty to one of crisis. Whether that is intentional or not remains to be seen.

From my extensive (and continuing) experience I can tell you that this Head is not the sort of person I would have selected to run any school - and you'll have to take it that I have selected several Headteachers in my time, all of whom, when dealt with sensibly by Governing Bodies, have produced fine results.

Please also understand that Governors are usually elected, but I agree, it will certainly be interesting - and revealing - if we get to hear parents' and colleagues' views.

Discipline can be inculcated in many different ways. Draconian (and hasty) action is not always the best policy.

8 October 2010 at 12:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to laugh. On paper, she must have looked a lefty educator's dream:

Mixed race - tick
Female - tick
ex-Marxist - tick

Best of luck Miss Birbalsingh… the new free schools need your expertise urgently.

8 October 2010 at 13:01  
Anonymous That's News said...

Now, we wouldn't be seeing some good old fashioned Socialist racism in action, would we?

See, people with names like Khan, Sing, D'souza, Rao, etc., are all supposed to vote Labour.

Whenever one of them says: "Well, as it happens, I am a Conservative" the dear little non-racist white Socialists suddenly become ravening, obnoxious racists. And I have seen this happen.

8 October 2010 at 13:01  
Blogger Graham Davis said...


I’d hate to think that I was protecting the establishment! But it’s just too easy to blame the “failure” of the education system on lefties or indeed teachers of any hue. If there is a problem with children not achieving their potential it is as much the fault of parenting as education. If she had been working for private industry, her behaviour, regardless of the rights and wrongs of it would have resulted in a similar reprimand.

8 October 2010 at 13:02  
Blogger Praguetory said...

We have the ridiculous situation of teacher unions castigating government policies but punishment meted out to dissenting individuals from the old establishment.

Pretty disgusting for Graham Davis to inpute her motives. Many readers of Cranmer, myself incuded, have read her blog for years. It is a selfless exposition of the failure of the education system. Mr Davis and his ilk should fast forward to the Harlem educator who explained why good education is the bedrock of civilisation and why that if that wasn't the case he would be happy to roll over and not criticise the status quo.

8 October 2010 at 13:05  
Blogger killemallletgodsortemout said...

Unsworth asks,

"Why, for that matter, is it perfectly OK for teachers to attend a Labour Party or TUC Conference and give speeches from the platform condemning 'Tory' policy and eulogising Labour policy?"

I think the reason is called hypocrisy.

It's what socialists are good at - that, and spending money that isn't theirs.

8 October 2010 at 13:06  
Blogger Praguetory said...

As far as I can see her crime isn't speaking at Tory conference but being well received! Left-wing thinking punishing success as per usual.

8 October 2010 at 13:06  
Anonymous That's News said...

Damn. Here's the missing 'h' from my above post. Shorhry ahbhout thhat!

8 October 2010 at 13:13  
Anonymous That's News said...

I’d hate to think that I was protecting the establishment!

Then stop doing it, Mr Davies. It's quite easy. You just... stop!

8 October 2010 at 13:15  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

Haven't we seen many teachers on Podia at Labour and Trades Union Conferences? i All seems terribly unnecessary and I am sure she will come out well from it.

8 October 2010 at 13:18  
Anonymous outsider said...

The girl is right. Look at the school´s website. If you click on staff or vacancies this is what you read:

This page is currently been updated, check back again soon.

How the hell can something be currently been updated???

I pity the poor schoolchildren.

8 October 2010 at 13:21  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

I have to admit that her archived blog is quite good (link from Annon: Perhaps I am being a bit too cynical about her motives.

8 October 2010 at 13:40  
Anonymous Mark said...

She breached the confidentiality of her students?

Surely that's got to be the prime concern for the school, the parents and the children who's confidentiality she breached.

8 October 2010 at 13:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I entire agree with Cranmer's comments. But as a retired state school teacher (in a shire county), his comments on all teachers being, in effect, crackpot marxists is not true. Certainly when I was teaching, most teachers were not particularly political, and most joined a union to get legal cover (essential in today's world). Most of the political activists were those whose main career was in the union (especially the NUT), and attending the Easter conferences.

The most significant left-wingers were the education lecturers and those in education departments (local & national). Some of the lecturers - those who had indeed taught in schools - made getting out of the classroom their first career move. It is they who made political correctness their abiding passion - and of course tried to pass it on to their students. If the system is to be cleansed, you have to start at the top.

8 October 2010 at 13:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Davis

You wrote: ‘I suspect many jump on the “they are all Marxists” bandwagon because it fits their right wing prejudice.’

As a ‘free thinker’ will you desist from telling others how and what to think?

8 October 2010 at 14:53  
Anonymous Michal said...

This is absolutely dreadful and shocking. Is this really all there is to it? Speaking at a tory conference? Do teachers automatically cease to be citizens once they begin to work in their profession?

While I have a hard time believing this is some sort of a socialist plot, I really hope something can be done about this. This is terrible. It shouldn't happen, and I can only hope that ms. Birbalsingh will be reinstated as soon as possible.

8 October 2010 at 15:23  
Blogger neil craig said...

On the one hand a dreadful infringement of individual freedom - on the other hand entirely to be expected.

Suppose she had made the speech at the BNP conference would her feet have touched the ground? Suppose she had been taught telling her class that catastrophic warming was a lie & it isn't happening or that the poisoning of Slobodan Milosevic was murder & members of the British government almost certainly guilty - would that have merited suspension, even though both statements are clearly true.

The difference to being fired for supporting the Tories is not one of principle but simply that the tories hold "officially approved" views & the others don't but "officially approved" is a bureaucratic not ethical standard.

On the other hand we might end up with schools funding child snuff videos. Oops to late they already have for the eco-Nazis.

8 October 2010 at 15:49  
Anonymous ukFred said...

Her head is a ZaNu lie bore supporter who feels she needs to be taught a lesson. Perhaps Dr. Irene Bishop, togeether with Ed Balls' mate, Michael 'have all the children suffer burn-out before they should be sitting their GCSEs' Wilkins at Outwood Grange in wakefield ought to be banned from all educational establishments for life for the damage they are doing to our children.

8 October 2010 at 15:59  
Blogger stevealbury said...

In a DPhil thesis from 1973 I was perusing the other day I noted a great comment supported by an depth analysis of exam results "an extremely consistent drift downwards in standards between 1968 and 1973"

Much as she has some personal experience to talk about and might be frustrated by the instrumentalism inherent in the modern education system it is not true that most teachers are marxist layabouts and that they are the cause of all stupidity, lack of ambition and reduction in social mobility we have experienced.

The obsession with school being about exams and 'preparing people for work' is as much a problem caused by right wing thinking as the bonkers nonsense about democratising education has been from the left.

Small schools, teachers with good educating skills and more freedom in curriculum design is the answer - not politically motivated managers without any research evidence to support their case simply 'telling it like it is'

8 October 2010 at 16:00  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

I have considerable sympathy for Mr stevealbury's view that 'The obsession with school being about exams and 'preparing people for work' is as much a problem caused by right wing thinking as the bonkers nonsense about democratising education has been from the left.'

However, there is some excuse for the right-wing attitudes. Left-wingery has been prevalent in our state education system since (at least) the sixties. In the seventies, before the Tories could actually do something about it, there was a huge amount of replacing 'proper' subjects with barmy things like 'peace studies', along with the burgeoning so-called child-centred approach (I say 'so-called' because real teaching is actually much more child-centred, as it puts the child's genuine interests above its immature fads and babyish ideas).

It was a natural conservative reaction to observe that children were no longer being given sufficient literacy and numeracy skills to fit them for life in the real world. The National Curriculum and education for employment followed. Sadly, both were soon hijacked by the left, whose profound possession of the educational territory was never appreciated by the Tories.

What the National Curriculum achieved was to centralise power and to put the levers of control over what happened in the classroom into the hands of bureaucrats and left-wing philosophers, as well as constraining much of the more creative aspects of genuinely good teaching.

8 October 2010 at 16:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Graham Davies seems never to have observed the difference that a change of teacher, let alone school, can do or the impact that a change of Head Teacher can have even when the rest of the teaching staff is unchanged. I have. I don't need any right-wing prejudices.
His comment blaming the parents for children failing to meet their potential looks horribly similar to the widely-condemned comments by a number of Hungarian populists (Jobbik is not right-wing unless your definition of "right-wing" is "anyone I dislike") about the Roma as the failure is very heavily concentrated among inner-city (especially inner London) Afro-Carribean boys, followed by Pakistani and Bangladeshi children, then by white working-class single-parent families. No Tory would be allowed to say that without the Cameroons drumming him/her out of the party.
I took 'O' and 'A' levels a year younger than my (more intelligent) sister: my mother had been actively campaigning for equal rights since before the War (with my father's active or tacit, as appropriate, support) and Mr Davies thinks that was their fault? Balderdash!

8 October 2010 at 16:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is anyone surprised? A supply teacher who filmed what was really happening in her classroom and it was broadcast to the nation, was suspended from teaching for two years, for unprofessional conduct!(sic) The marxist unions have had "Education" in a death grip since the sixties if we sat in on our children's classes for a day, we would be truly shocked.
We spend billions on "Education" but are we getting value for money.

8 October 2010 at 21:57  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Graham Davis, your last post was gracious. I am glad you had the chance to read some of Snuffy's blog, which has informed and amused us for a long time. In her dealings with her pupils she has been consistently surefooted, principled (even strict) and charitable. Would that all our children could have such teachers!

9 October 2010 at 00:12  
Anonymous David Davis said...

@D Singh

The buggers are not interested in whether they "fail the children" or even provide any education at all.

They are GramscoStaliNazis. Their objective is to upend and destroy an entire civilisation - which is to say: Classical liberalism - which threatens pre-capitalist-barbarism with extinction.

They know perfectly well exactly what they are doing, and they believe in their rightness and succes with a ferocious, wicked and utterly focussed fervency of which we ordinary liberal sovereign individuals, accustomed to just rubbing along agreeably with other individuals via agreement and discourse, cannot begin to comprehend.

In a hypothetical denoument between them and us, I sadly would have to think that therre cannot be any place for such people, alongside us, on this planet.

They would have to go: I cannot thnk where, so they may just have to "go", ultimately. The thought worries me.

9 October 2010 at 19:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Another crap teacher from a crap school moaning about the 'system' and blaming it or all her woes a la Frank Chalk.

Lapping up inflammatory rhetoric from self-serving propagators of educational doom might be fun but, as an experienced teacher, I can assure you that their views do not reflect the reality of the average classroom.

Wouldn't it be nice if good teachers from good schools got a word in once in a while...?

10 October 2010 at 16:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS - she might be great, I actually have no idea so I retract by anonymous ramble. Chalk, on the other hand, was crap by his own admission.

IN GENERAL: some schools are terrible. These schools tend to have rubbish heads and poor teachers; some of these teachers write blogs; some people then think all school's are like this; they are not. End.

The church/slash politics stuff is comedy gold though.

10 October 2010 at 16:46  
Blogger Nate Whilk said...

For those of us who just got here, there's still a lot of Miss Snuffy's blog in the Google cache. The little I've read so far is GREAT!

12 October 2010 at 01:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace

Former prime minister Tony Blair would often say that the world is inter-dependent. And his civil servants would speak about ‘joined-up’ thinking.

I wonder if there is a right-wing mode of ‘joined-up’ thinking that the Education and Home secretaries might consider?

There is a fundamental moral dimension to what Ms Birbalsingh is highlighting: the broken education system.

And I think Mr Trevor Phillips of the Equality and Human Rights Commission would agree with.

In Freedom and Fairness (EHRC (2009)) it is stated:

‘However, even beyond this kind of amplification effect, we believe that it is possible to identify a uniquely destructive class of equality gap.’ (p. 47)


‘For example, people with low levels of educational achievement can expect to be less employable, therefore poorer, therefore less healthy and probably less likely to participate in civic activity. The kinds of people who are less likely to be employed are also more likely to be involved in crime, to have shorter life-spans and to have less fulfilling family lives.’ (p. 48)


‘[S]ome of the most worrying differences in attainment for ethnic minority groups in England are in primary schools where, despite some narrowing, there are significant and persistent attainment gaps affecting Pakistani and Black pupils (Black Caribbean, Black African and pupils from other Black backgrounds).’ (p. 52)

Failure at school has negative implications.

If the critique by Ms Birbalsingh of the education system is accepted and if the Education Secretary Michael Gove can install a range of appropriate remedies – then the Home Secretary Theresa May’s department may reap the benefits.

For example, we know from the Home Office’s statistics on Stop and Search (Stop and Frisk (USA)) that disproportionate numbers of young African-Caribbean and Pakistani youth (compared to their numbers in the general population) are stopped and searched by the police. It is these groups that often fail at school.

Imagine if discipline could be reintroduced for many of these boys so that they could learn and participate in society successfully – society and the taxpayer would save billions of pounds each year: for many would not come to the attention of the police; legal aid lawyers; the criminal courts; the prisons; the Probation Service; council rehousing departments….

12 October 2010 at 09:27  

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