Friday, October 08, 2010

Katherine Birbalsingh

Many thanks to the Head of St Michael and All Angels Church of England Academy (easy for you to say) for providing me with some great material for today's post.

Katherine Birbalsingh who teaches at the school has been sent home after making a speech at the Conservative Conference which slams the state education system. You can watch it here and everything she says is completely true. I feel like she's copied it all from my blog.

There is a Facebook Group here which you can join if you agree with her. (I've no idea whether these groups are effective or not but it's probably better than just shouting at the telly)

I can't confirm the rumour that Dr Irene Bishop, the Head who told her to er... 'work from home', allowed the Labour Party to use her previous school to launch its General Election campaign in 2001.


Don said...

I've seen it reported that the school were unhappy that she used pictures (and names) of real pupils at the school with which to illustrate her talk and that was the reason for her being told to "work from home". I don't know how true that is, nor whether the pupils concerned gave their permission. The references weren't in any way defamatory and the school may possibly have just got cold feet afterwards over the amount of publicity her speech has got.

Anonymous said...

seconding Don's comment.

Dack said...

School statement:
'In a statement on Friday night, the Diocese of Southwark confirmed the teacher would be allowed to return to the classroom next week.

It added: "Her speech at the Conservative party conference used pictures of children from our school and made reference to them by name. We are concerned by this and in particular by the way in which the pictures have been used.

"Teachers will always have opinions about the ways in which schools should be run. Some teachers may agree with some of the points made by Ms Birbalsingh and some may disagree."

It added: "Our concern is that the position of the Academy should not be misrepresented. Generalisations about teachers and schools can be seen as insulting to many teachers who have worked hard to make a difference to the lives of the young people in their care.

"We and all schools have high aspirations for our young people whatever their backgrounds. Miss Birbalsingh was asked to work at home on Thursday and Friday and will return to work next week."

It is understood that Miss Birbalsingh, an Oxford graduate, asked her headteacher's permission to speak at the conference.'

NUT statement:
'Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "No teacher will want to damage relationships with the school community within which they work, but as the experts on educational issues teachers must be allowed to speak out about the impact of government policies and give their views on the education system.

"The NUT may not agree with a teacher's views but we will assert their their right to express opinions about the system within which they work."'

Her blog's down though, obviously.

TonyF said...

Good for her, I think it had to be said, and now it has. Let's hope for some changes..

Anonymous said...

"Generalisations about teachers and schools can be seen as insulting to many teachers who have worked hard to make a difference to the lives of the young people in their care". In other words, the the hard working teachers who make a difference are the exception, rather than the general rule. Care to take aim at the other foot?

Wendy Davies said...

I posted a comment earlier, but it has been deleted. Wendy Davies.

Wendy Davies said...

Irene Bishop is a woman of substance and principle.
Wendy Davies.

Anonymous said...

You've posted a comment on the next post Wendy "Katherine Burbal returns", is that the one you mean?