|Michael Gove applauds Katharine Birbalsingh at Tory Party Conference|
We are expecting a great deal of you and you should be expecting a lot from us. We have set ourselves a challenge to show that children from the inner city can learn as much as any child educated in the private sector. This will require a lot of hard work, commitment and perseverance, not just from our children but from parents and teachers as well.
We are ready for the challenge and hope you are too. I look forward to the weekly contact that we will have when you access [you child's] assessment and behaviour records on line and [his/her] progress with [him/her]. We expect children to read every night at home and complete a reading log. Anyone who does not meet our expectations will be kept for a 30 minute detention the following day. I know you will support our strict line on uniform, our insistence on all pupils being prepared and polite and our desire that children should take pride in themselves and in their schools.
This can only be achieved through retaining high expectations of both children and parents and I am certain you will want to meet our high standards. It won't always be easy. When your child's black shoe lace is broken and you are rushing to work and only have a white shoe lace to give them, you may find yourself wishing that you had sent your child to a school that would make an exception to the uniform once in a while. You'll then remember that we have high standards for a reason: to ensure your child has access to an extraordinary education.Birbalsingh goes on to assure parents that although no work may appear to be going on at the Arena House building which will house the school, 'there is a lot going on beind the scenes' and 'our contractors have a great deal of experience in preparing free schools to open (often on shorter timelines than ours) and we are confident that everything required will be in place for us to welcome our first intake in September'.
As headmistress I promise you an education that will transform your child's life. Our extended school day, starting at 8am and finishing at 4.30pm will itself be revolutionary in helping your child learn more, build their confidence and extend concentration. Our senior team is now appointed and our team of teachers is nearly complete, Please have a look at our website for their profiles. They are exceptional. They believe in imparting knowledge, benchmarking and healthy competition so that children are prepared for later challenges in life.
All parents will be expected to attend a Welcome Event on Sunday 15th June at Vale Farm Sports Centre when they will hear more about Birbalsingh's expectations and will be given information about uniform.
Ark Academy across the road from the Michaela Academy already has a reputation for strictness which has rubbed some parents up the wrong way. I hope a 'discipline war' doesn't break out between the two schools in an attempt to prove which is the 'toughest'. We will be watching exclusion rates and the profile of those excluded closely.
Meanwhile a number of parents allocated a place for their child at Michaela did not express a preference for the school or its ethos, they were given a place because none of their 6 preferences came up, and that may well be a source of future conflict.