Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ms Birbalsingh departs

The Telegraph (yesterday) and the Sunday Times today are both running stories on Ms Birbalsingh's departure (sacking) from St Michael and All Angels Academy after she had spoken out against 'low standards and expecting the very least from the poor and disadvantaged' at the Conservative Party conference a few weeks ago.
Despite being given permission to speak at the conference by her head teacher, the board of governors at St Michael and All Angels Church of England Academy, where she worked, didn't like what Ms Birbalsingh had to say about the education system. In her speech, she had described it as 'broken' and as being 'so dumbed down even the children know it'. The claim made by the governors that her remarks were potentially damaging to the reputation of the school, or, as the governors statement put it, 'the position of the academy has been misrepresented', was clearly absurd, as she had only been at the school for a few weeks and was talking about the education system in general.
Neither she nor the school are prepared to comment on the details of her leaving but Mrs Birbalsingh was reported in the Telegraph to have said 'that she had resigned after being asked to comply with conditions she did not feel able to comply with'. In other words, it's quite likely that the school tried to gag her and she refused the gag.
As Nick Seaton of the Campaign for Real Education says, 'It sends a shocking warning to others in the teaching profession - they must not say anything which may expose the truth about the system, or they may lose their livelihood'. The Telegraph View today is even more forthright, likening 'bureaucrats in charge of the state education system today' to Stalinists.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's in the Mail too -with comment on another whistle blower who got sidelined by the educational establishment for speaking out:

'Some two decades ago Martin Turner, a distinguished psychologist and expert on dyslexia, was forced out of his job and had his reputation blackened for suggesting that many diagnosed classroom disorders were actually caused by a systemic failure to teach children to read'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1321411/As-teacher-Katharine-Birbalsingh-fired-tell-truth-now.html#ixzz12ieN8a4f

John said...

Yes, Anon, I read it this morning in Melanie Philips' column. She also connects the Birbalsingh case to the two history teachers, Anthony Freeman and Chris McGovern, who were 'forced out' of their jobs for wanting to teach history as narrative.
Thanks for the link.