Monday, January 24, 2011

St Michael & All Angels Church of England Academy to close

Remember that gifted and eloquent teacher who gave a speech at the last Conservative Party conference, and was consequently suspended by her headteacher, fully supported by the school’s Chairman of Governors?

Remember how that teacher spoke out so eloquently against the tragedy of poor teaching standards, low morale, the iniquity of political-correctness and the ubiquity of ‘left-thinking’ teachers who believe the answer to the decline is simply more ‘left thinking’, and so was persecuted for her political beliefs?

Remember how that teacher was publicly humiliated and then forced out by her headteacher, who had been courted by Tony Blair, hailed as a ‘super-head’ and tasked specifically with turning round an Ofsted ‘failing’ school?

Remember that even Mayor Boris could not save her?

Well, it has been announced that St Michael & All Angels Church of England Academy is to close.

You see, the children really did need a visionary educator like Katharine Birbalsingh.

But ‘Dr’ Irene Bishop, the 'Executive Head' who believed she could turn this school round with a part-time commitment of just two days a week, knew better.

And so did the Governing Body and the Diocese of Southwark.

Instead of forcing Ms Birbalsingh out, they should have made her headteacher.

Now, defeated by their own incompetence, they are shutting up shop.



Perhaps neither.

But an absolute tragedy for the hundreds of parents and children whose education is now imperilled further as they begin the almost-impossible search for a truly outstanding school in the area.

And should they fail, as they most likely will, we shall doubtless see even more of the scandalously poor school-leaving standards for which we are all paying.

And there is something about this academy’s closure which is more than a little fishy.

For only a month ago, ‘Dr’ Bishop was lauding her (part-time) self and her school for ‘fighting back’, having overcome Katharine Birbalsingh's great betrayal and almost-mortal blow which ‘hit them hard’.

Clearly, ‘Dr’ Bishop was engaged in a façade of media management: she was spinning it like any good Blairite.

It is perhaps a metaphor for the incompetent management of this school that when you telephone the school office for more information on the imminent closure, you are given a number of # options with a direction to dial the closure ‘hotline’ (08447 707576) and input the academy ID number (75032).

When you do that, you are directed to select #3 for the school office.

Which directs you back the closure ‘hotline’.

Which directs you back to the school office…

And so you are trapped in an automated, infinite loop of time-wasting, demoralising, frustrating bureaucracy under the guise of efficiency and professionalism.

Which is precisely what many teachers in the state sector are forced to endure day after day, as Ms Birbalsingh has made very plain.

But at least such shoddy management incompetence at St Michael and All Angels' is consistent.

It is a tragedy that insecure headteachers and bullying governors are apparently able to terminate the careers of the country’s most passionate, committed and caring and successful teachers, and do so with impunity. Unfortunately, Michael Gove’s academy plan will only serve to strengthen the arms of those heads and governors who wish to ‘team up’ in mutual defence against any teacher with a whistle to blow.

And the law offers them no protection: indeed, the Employment Tribunal process is itself lengthy, bureaucratic and sustains a very concerning precedent against whistle-blowers in the form of ‘Perkin v St George’s Healthcare Trust’.

It is evident that one might have genuine grievance, patiently pursue it through all the correct channels, blow the whistle, and then be dismissed without compensation by a bullying management who conspire to portray you as incompetent and incompatible with their modus operandi.

So, if you wish to speak out in your school about a ‘totally and utterly chaotic’ system which is ‘fundamentally broken’ and which keeps ‘poor children poor’, please expect to be summarily dismissed.

It appears to be more desirable to some headteachers and governors than the alternative of addressing the fundamental problems in order to keep a school open and children educated to a standard which liberates them.


Anonymous martin sewell said...

You really don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Any chance, do you think, that the BBC will pick
this story up and run with it for several days? No, me neither.

24 January 2011 at 11:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It still begs the question why did Bishop and the interview panel appoint KB in the first place, did she think that she was the best candidate in the field?

The handling of the 'dismissal' was interesting, the website went down, and the airbrushes went to work.

Perhaps Michael Gove might encourage a backbencher to raise the issue at PMQs, just to watch Red Ed and the former Education Sec Ed Balls squirm.

24 January 2011 at 11:43  
Anonymous JayBee said...

Those who dug the grave of another have buried themselves.

24 January 2011 at 12:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that rather, they've buried the school, damaged the future opportunities of the pupils and those responsible will probably get away completely untarnished by this outrageous scandal.

24 January 2011 at 12:10  
Anonymous JayBee said...

The school is not dead.
It is to be 'recycled':-

24 January 2011 at 12:32  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr/Miss/Mrs/Ms JayBee,

His Grace thanks you for that.

Bringing in the successful ARK group to run a re-developed school is a damning indictment of 'Dr' Irene Bishop and the Governing Body of the academy. That report corroborates His Grace's post.

24 January 2011 at 12:50  
Blogger killemallletgodsortemout said...

Keep an eye out for "Dr" Bishop's elevation to the House of Lords.

Blue Labour. The Madness continues apace.

24 January 2011 at 14:02  
Blogger KINGOFHIGHCS said...


It appears that to hope and aspire that all our children receive a proper education is ignored by our education boards for ideological reasons.

I received a grammar school education despite being from a low income family and I have never forgotten what I was taught and it's value to me throughout my adult life.

Grammar schools had the various classes further separated by means of ability to reflect the needs of the children. Four distinct groups called alpha, a, b, c. We were taught the same curriculum but allowed to be taught amongst our 11+ peers. We read the WHOLE of the books presented in english literature and were tested on this not taught extracts then tested on extracts of the extracts!
This is WHY I was taught to love books and that it was considered a joy rather than a chore to learn from them.
I still have that love of books to this day.

It is tragic that the grammar school ideal is now rejected on biased ideological principles rather than that 'It Worked'.

See the below link to show how low the aspiration is and how even the basic requirement to let children be children is abused by the educators of our country.

Why can we not concentrate on ensuring our children get the best rather than the basest of education..i.e what happened to the basic mathematical examples of apples and pears rather than gays or lesbians to explain its principles in addition, subtraction etc.

The world has gone mad!


24 January 2011 at 15:12  
Anonymous uk Fred said...

Shame that the school has already been recycled. I was hoping that a certain Mr. Gove might want to see it succeed as a free school with Katharine Birbalsingh as head teacher and ensure that the funds were available for this to happen. But then, this Cameroon government has more in common with the cowardly government of Ted Turncoat Heath than it has with the aspirations of the folks who cannot afford a private education.

24 January 2011 at 16:17  
Blogger OldSouth said...

Echoing uk Fred: A lost opportunity to set up shop with Ms. Birbalsingh at the helm. However, too quick a sequence of closure to re-opening would invite all manner of hostile inquiry, innuendo, etc.

Sitting here on the other side of the pond, and not knowing the UK system, the question arises:

What prevents the parents from simply organizing themselves and incorporating another school? How many barriers does the government erect? Here locally, a small parent-organized school was launched in about a years' time. It this possible in the UK?

24 January 2011 at 17:41  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Good question, Old South. I'd wondered that myself.

24 January 2011 at 18:14  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Ha ah! Chicken or egg? Which came first; the decision to close the school, or Bishop's appointment?

24 January 2011 at 18:29  
Anonymous Gerard Tibercross said...

Old South asks what are the barriers to just setting up a school. The short answer is - immense. What he describes is what is now proposed for "Free" schools here.

We now have an extraordinarily regulated and restricted school system - much akin to the French system as used to be, where if it was 10.30 am on 24th January you could identify what every class in every school in the country was studying.

In the 60's when I was at a faith grammar school - OK, a Jesuit grammar school - would the secretary of the local education authority argue about curriculum with the Jesuit headmaster? Well, not when he'd got 2 boys in the school. We had time for Mass, and marching (CCF) - well, what do you expect from the Jesuits? We also had time for Greek, and Logic. This was a school which was run by teachers, albeit teachers wearing dog collars and a monastic habit.

Teachers should run schools, not politicians.

Gerard Tibercross

24 January 2011 at 19:49  
Blogger starcourse said...

Maybe the site should be re-opened as a Free School with KB as Head Teacher.

Meanwhile "Dr" Bishop should be ...... (words fail me!)

24 January 2011 at 23:03  
Anonymous non mouse said...

My record's kind of stuck, all gobsmacked, at the notion of Baroness Bishop. (thx killemall....)

24 January 2011 at 23:22  
Blogger Dave said...

Shame on you for defending only Ms Birbalsingh. I remember Gerald Ratner losing his job for similar reasons in 1992. Let's have a petition.

25 January 2011 at 01:04  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

The thing about educating the young is it is extremely easy to do.

They have a mind that has little in it, and so lots of available space to be filled.

What is more almost all of what they need to know by the age of 10-11 their parents can already do themselves. All my children could read well before the age of 6 at most, I can assure you that they learnt all of this ability from myself or my wife.

Indeed my oldest daughter who is now 22, tells me that she learnt virtually everything she knows from either myself, her mother, or doing her actually job. Her mother who has a Ist masters, also claims that she learnt everything from the book, and that her lectures where a complete waste of her time.

In my own case I can not recall anything of any worth I learnt from a school teacher, or lecturer. Certainly nothing that was any use to me at the time, or later in life. I learnt what I have, either from reading books on the subject, or by my own personal experience.

Schools and Universities do not exist to educate, they exist to indoctrinate the child with the same establishment authorized nonsense the teacher was indoctrinated with.

IMO As a general rule, if you did not learn something by your own efforts, or experience, it is not worth knowing, and very possibly either a straight forward lie, or just plane wrong.

The greatest lies of all are to be found in our authorized history books, and higher educational establishments.

Indeed the best way to know absolutely nothing essentially truthful about the past, is to study history at a university.

Arts subjects are called The Arts for a reason. They are one of the finest examples of the darkest of DARK ARTS.

25 January 2011 at 04:18  
Anonymous Geoff said...

How different to my 1960's/70's experience in a Catholic Boys Grammar School.

A school almost entirely filled with working class boys who achieved great things, taking themselves away from the factories, shops and building sites that their parents knew into the professions and academia.

Those "same" boys now are at the bottom of the educational heap thanks to the left thinking educational establishment.

So big and powerful is it that I doubt this coalition will stand a chance against it - UNLESS - it adopts the style of New Labour and targets underachieving schools and teachers - persecuting them as Labour persecuted anyone who spoke out.

Destroy their careers, take away their pensions, criminalise them.

Just take the situation of poor white boys. Take their teachers to court for discrimination, the local authorities for spending less on them than immigrants, for setting curriculum's that favour girls etc.

Only by acting like the Socialist thugs that have sought to undermine this country and create a dependant underclass, balkanising the country with multiculturalism, will they win.

Faffing about as Cameron seems to do just WILL NOT do...!

25 January 2011 at 09:02  
Anonymous len said...

It is tragic when incompetence overrides ability as it seems to have done with this Academy.
The real sufferers will be the Pupils.

25 January 2011 at 18:27  

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