Monday 31 March 2014

Katharine Birbalsingh menaces parents as well as pupils

I have already reported on Katharine Birbalsingh's letter to parents and the infamous black and white shoe lace sermon LINK which made some of them refuse the offer of a place at Michaela Free School.

She is at it again this week in a interview with the Kilburn Times LINK. She puts forward her ideas about education which appear to rest on a model of private education which is pre-Dr Arnold LINK and certainly treats pupils as empty vessels to be filled by their superiors.
“Our ethos is very much about teaching children. We do not believe in teachers being facilitators of learning and that’s too often the case.

“We believe in desks being in rows, children looking to the front at their teachers.

“We believe the teacher is a fountain of knowledge who should impart it onto the children.”
In fact the BKT quotes her as wanting to 'install' values in pupils which makes them sound like machines and not people at all.

The school will offer daily behaviour logs on pupils which they will expect parents to check on a regular basis:
“The idea is that if the child has been listening in class, they will get a perfect score, There isn’t just homework for the children but homework for parents too. If they don’t complete their homework, they’ll be hearing from me.”
It looks as if Birbalsingh's missionary zeal and her Thatcher/Gove conviction that she knows best will be targeted at parents as much as pupils.

Watch this space.


Anonymous said...

Oh dear. If you're going to patronise people it's best to get your own clichés correct before you do it. It's 'fount' or 'font' , a source, not 'fountain' (of knowledge). And you don't IMpart something ONto people.
Not much in the way of rigour or traditional values there, Miss. Looks like you'll be getting homework from us (not 'we') parents at this rate.

Mr_Chas said...

I have read your relentless vilification of The Michaela Community School for some time. It seems to me that you would not wish your own children to be educated there. That is your prerogative. Were Michaela the only secondary school in a small town there might be an issue. In Brent this is clearly not the case. You are also entitled to a personal opinion. Where you are very wrong is that there is in fact a huge demand for an education like this, especially in the Nigerian, Afro - Caribbean and Indian communities. Before you ask, yes I do have 'evidence'. I met and talked to hundreds of such parents of year 6 kids on the streets outside primary schools in south London. They bemoan the lack of strong discipline, the lack of the imparting of knowledge by experts, the lack of benchmarking, the lack of high expectations etc in our schools. Many of these parents despair so much of many London schools that they scrape the money together to send their kids back to Jamaica, Nigeria to get such an education as will be offered at Michaela. Let us not forget that parents enrol their children in their chosen/allocated school and are therefore 'customers' of the State education system. You may not want to send your own offspring to Michaela, but many others do and will see their offering as an answer to their 'prayers'. I predict heavy oversubscription in the future, just as there is at West London FreeSchool. Let the parents decide.

Anonymous said...

I agree entirely, Mr Chas. Whenever I meet hundreds of members of the Indian, Nigerian or Afro-Caribbean communities, they speak of nothing but the lack of benchmarking in modern Britain. And I wholeheartedly agree that we/they are the 'customers' as you put it. I do feel a little bit guilty sometimes though, when I think that, given the ludicrously expensive nature of the brave Free School experiment, all the other 'customers' in the land are having to fork out massive amounts of their hard-earned dosh just to fund my extravagant little whim. Still, that's their prerogative I suppose and If God hadn't wanted us to be dipping our selfish hands into other people's pockets he wouldn't have answered our prayers, would he?

Anonymous said...

Why all the vitriol? It's just another school with a different approach. If there isn't demand then it will close. Give the woman (and the kids) a chance.

Anonymous said...

Just another school ………..?

‘Michael Gove approves plan to spend £45m – six times the average – on school for 500 children as spending watchdog condemns ‘outrageous’ cost of Harris Westminster Sixth Form. So far the Government has spent £743m on establishing 174 free schools for 80,000 pupils. Capital costs of securing premises have been almost double DfE predictions’.
The Independent 29/03/2014.

Anonymous said...

So, not really 'just another school', is it?
And Birbalsingh is not 'just another head'. In fact, she's not a head at all. She's not even an experienced teacher. The whole thing is an ideological vanity project for her and Gove and a small group of zealots. And it's being funded by us. And it will be our kids who are left high and dry when it all goes tits up. If you want to give 'the kids' a chance, don't let them within a mile of these chancers. If you want to give Ms Birbalsingh a chance, tell her to go and set up on her own, using her own money just like anyone else wanting to start a school 'with a 'different approach' would have to do.