To Miss With Love: the book (sequel to the blog)
A third of teachers leave within their first term on the job. This one wouldn't quit for all the world.
Meet Furious - sixteen, handsome and completely out of control. Nothing frightens him and no one can get through to him. Now meet Munchkin - a sweet kid with glasses who's an easy target and needs protecting. Then there's Seething and Deranged, two girls who are brimming with bad attitude; Fifty and Cent, who act like gangsters but are afraid of getting beaten up; and Stoic, a brilliant young mind struggling to survive. In the midst of them all, there is a bodyguard and bouncer, a counsellor and confidante, a young woman whose job it is to motivate and inspire them and somehow keep them out of trouble: their teacher. None will make it through the year unscathed. Some may not even make it at all…
Spanning a year of shocking truths and hard-won victories, of fights and phone-thefts, teenage pregnancies and the dreaded OFSTED report, this is the remarkable diary of an inner-city school teacher. Revealing the extraordinary chaos, mismanagement and wrong-thinking that plague our education system, it is a funny, surprising and sometimes heartbreaking journey from the frontlines of the classroom to the heart of modern Britain.
Katharine Birbalsingh is Britain’s most outspoken and controversial teacher. Educated at a comprehensive school, she earned a degree in philosophy and modern languages at Oxford university and has taught for over a decade in inner-city schools. To Miss with Love was for several years an anonymous blog that exposed the reality of inner-city schools and the problems with the education system. She now writes regularly for the Telegraph and has given evidence at the Commons select committee for education. Her views have sparked a national debate.
For those who do not already follow her musings, she is now employed by The Telegraph Blogs. For those who do, and who care, it is a cause of great concern that her pedagogy is now lost to English education.
But doubtless the Executive Headteacher and Governing Body of the St Michael and All Angels Academy are relieved to be rid of her.
And therein lies the tragedy of our education system: the fault lies so often not with the long-suffering teachers, but with the incompetent egos who pass for headteachers and the unqualified puffed-up buffoons who try to be governors.
And, no: Michael Gove's academy strategy is no remedy for that.