Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Guest Post: In Defefence of Katherine Birbalsingh

Nick Seaton of the Campaign for Real Education is raising money for Katherine Birbalsingh

Since she spoke at the Conservative conference, Katharine Birbalsingh has gone from strength to strength. Hardly a day goes by without her name cropping up in the media. She now writes regularly for the Telegraph and following her recent appearance in front of the Education Select Committee, Quentin Letts described her as 'the most exciting voice on education since Chris Woodhead'. That’s some accolade!

For Miss Birbalsingh, there’s only one dark cloud. Because of what she said, she’s lost her job as deputy head of St Michael and All Angels Church of England Academy in Southwark.

Why? In the eyes of the state educational establishment, she committed two cardinal sins, for which she must be punished. One, as a front-line professional, she spoke the truth without the usual mitigating spin. And two, in doing so, she placed the interests of her pupils, and young people generally, above her own self-interest.

This, above all, is what the system fears: free-thinking insiders who dare to speak out. Too much of this and the whole Stalinist system of ‘progressive’ lies and deceit (including the ideological nonsense disseminated in teacher training colleges) will almost certainly crumble. As Melanie Phillips pointed out in the Daily Mail, Katharine Birbalsingh is not the first such victim of the system.

Almost twenty years ago, two outstanding history teachers in East Sussex, Dr Anthony Freeman and Chris McGovern, headed a steady stream of professional critics who suffered short term persecution for their honesty. Nothing has changed since then.

So what can we, as ordinary citizens, do? Not much, unfortunately. One thing we can all do is to show the totalitarians who dominate state education what a pathetic minority they are – that most people care about free speech, honest debate and above all, the education and welfare of future generations.

So please support the Katharine Birbalsigh Defence Fund. Above all, the right of teachers (and students in teacher training colleges) to speak freely, without fear of recrimination, must be defended and enforced.

If you would like to help, please make cheques payable to the Katharine Birbalsingh Defence Fund, c/o 18 Westlands Grove, York YO31 1EF. Electronic transfers can be made to the Katharine Birbalsingh Defence Fund, HSBC Bank, Account Number 04355970, Sort Code 40-47-31.

‘Kill one, frighten 10,000.’ This old adage still stands, though in state education, they don’t kill people, they just deprive them of their livelihoods and security – a very effective threat. This anti-democratic practice must be stopped. What better time to do it?

Hattip: This article first appeared on ConservativeHome.


john in cheshire said...

Iain, I would prefer to make a donation via the internet; perhaps a paypal account. Is that possible?

Man in a Shed said...

I loved her "To miss with Love" blog, and she's great with the common sense. It helps that she was one of the brain washed lefties herself and has come to see the light.

However not sure if I want to contribute cash to suing the taxpayer. I rather contribute cash ( if I had lots ) to her setting up a freeschool just down the road from the one that sacked her.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making me aware of this, I will put her on my Xmas list!

Savonarola said...

This is a poorly constructed appeal. There is not enough information about this fund.

1 Exactly what is the purpose of the fund
2 How much is to be raised
3 Who are the administrators
4 Is KB a default beneficiary should an action not take place.

Too woolly.C-

I am willing to support KB but only on more clearly defined terms.

neil craig said...

"Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representative who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions."


QED the british education system is not run to educate people but to empire build.

Cynic said...

Who are the Governors? Shouldn't they be lobbied to right this gross injustice? I noted that immediately the issue broke they took down their school website

Tim said...

Ms Birbalsingh may be tutting at the 'Defefence' spelling. ;)

She seems to be of that number who talk about 'truth' and 'common-sense' as if they are impeccable arbiters of such things.

Nevertheless, she does make some valid points about hysterical political correctness and even as a loony lefty, I think it quite wrong that she lost her job for having the temerity to speak her mind.

P. Stable said...

"Above all, the right of teachers to speak freely, without fear of recrimination, must be defended and enforced."

Provided they say things the self-appointed Campaign for "Real" Education agrees with, obviously.

P. Stable said...

Also, use of the word "Stalinist" in arguements such as this really needs its own version of Godwin's Law.

Has Ms Birbalsingh been murdered by the state? Has her family been sent to the labour camps? Have papers that printed her words been closed down?


Then stop talking such hyperbolic bollocks.

Jimmy said...

"Defence" from what exactly?

Newmania said...

My brother teaches at a London Comp and the tales he tellss about the reality of classroom life would horrify you ( as would the salaries of the lazy time servers the profession is infested with)

Newmania said...

I had not listend to what she had to say Iain and now I have I must agree she is an inspiring person.

What I do not understand is why she had lost her job , what was the pretext ?

Victor, NW Kent said...

Of what is she accused and by whom? We should know this before we respond to an appeal to defend her.

If it is a case that she intends to bring against her former employers then that is not a defence and besides which it would be handled through a tribunal, not a court.

Little Black Sambo said...

Her readers on the Telegraph often make some very nasty personal comments about her. The readership on "To Miss with Love" was warmly appreciative.

wild said...

Katherine Birbalsingh thinks that educational achievement is more important than Leftist "correct thinking".


Sack her.

Where is she to find work?


In the private sector.

Do Leftists think there should be a private sector?



Does P.Stable think that the treatment of Katherine Birbalsingh is Stalinist?


No, because it only counts as Stalinist if people are deprived of their freedom of speech.

Did Katherine Birbalsingh lose her job because she attacked Leftist "correct thinking"?



Are Leftists worried about a free press?


Yes, they are worried about a system in which people have the freedom to buy their own newspapers, and therefore put money in the pockets of people like Rupert Murdoch.

What is their solution?


Force everybody to pay for a Leftist dominated State television broadcaster called the BBC.

Can we expect to watch a programme on the BBC about the dangers of a Leftist dominated State education system?


No. But you can expect to get a programme about the dangers of a Murdoch dominated free press.

Are people permitted to make an analogy between the treatment of Katherine Birbalsingh and people who disagreed with the Leftist orthodoxy in the USSR under Stalin?


No, because she will not be killed. Somebody should only make an analogy with the USSR if people are executed rather than simply being deprived of their means of employment.

Who says so?



x said...

Don't worry about some lefty teacher, check out General Dannett's interview re 'Accused'on radio 4 this am. How he huffed and puffed 'til his medals rattled.

DespairingLiberal said...

Wasn't the key point that she used photos of the kids and described their personal issues to the public on TV? How on earth could anyone trust a headteacher who does that?

Still, I'm glad Iain is raising this case - if ever a woman was angling to be a Tory PPC and that's fair enough. But I am really troubled by the thought that she has been taken under the wing of a Mr Gove. This man is clearly a sinister figure and innocent young teachers deserve protection from the likes of him.

Brian said...

So an employee slags off employer and colleagues at public meeting and expects to keep job. Had the contents of her speech been agreed by her boss? Teachers have freedom regarding political activities by virtue of s2(10)of the Local Government & Housing Act 1989 (why?)(cf position of other public sector employees)but didn't she overstep the mark?

wild said...

"Wasn't the key point that she used photos of the kids and described their personal issues to the public on TV?"

No, but then you already know that don't you.

"if ever a woman was angling to be a Tory PPC"

No, she wants to be a teacher, but then you already know that don't you.

"Mr Gove...is clearly a sinister figure and innocent young teachers deserve protection from the likes of him."

Yes, giving power back to parents so that they can make their own choices is scary. They may decide not send them to the local State Comprehensive School re-education camp. What will all the lazy and useless Leftist teachers in the State system do if taxpayers are no longer forced to pay for them?

angry and despondent said...

Oh, Despairing Liberal! Off you go again with your disinformation in an attempt to divert the argument.

The accusation you repeat of Ms.Bibalsingh using photographs of her pupils has been rebutted many times. SHE RECEIVED THE PERMISSION OF THE PARENTS TO USE THEIR CHILDREN AS EXAMPLES OF GOOD/BAD TEACHING.

I know leftie drones like yourself like to create myths, bu that particular one has been put to rest once and for all. Yet you persist with that particular

Now you are obviously trying to create another slur by accusing her of doing for selfish political reasons.

You now confirm the view that if the Left don't like the message then they go all out to smear and destroy the messenger.

Either that or you are judging Ms.Birbalsingh by your own standards.

Anonymous said...

You are as pathetic as ever Despairing. She recounted pupil violence.

I think the person who wants to be dismissed is Dr Irene Bishop.

Let children stay anonymous and have their education shafted?

Anonymous said...

The wider definition of Stalinist according the the Free Dictionary (itself an anathema to followers of Stalin) is
'The bureaucratic, authoritarian exercise of state power and mechanistic application of Marxist-Leninist principles associated with Stalin'
'a person who accepts the leadership of another'

The World english Dictionary says 'the theory and form of government associated with Stalin: a variant of Marxism-Leninism characterized by totalitarianism, rigid bureaucracy, and loyalty to the state '

I think 'totalitarianism, rigid bureaucracy' fits in with the general analogous use of 'Stalinist'. The sacking of Ms. Birbalsingh I think fits in with the terror associated with Stalin.

Lets not pretend otherwise.

Unknown said...

I wonder how many in the medical profession are in the same boat?

Anonymous said...

Just one point -- Melanie Phillips thinks creationism should be taught in science lessons. She has therefore forfeited any right she has to be taken seriously on education.

Jimmy said...

"No, she wants to be a teacher,"

Don't be silly. She wants to be a pundit. She wants to be Mad Mel Philips' stunt double. She wants to be a person of consequence. If she wanted to teach she'd be doing it now.

btw does she really write those torygraph pieces or is it Craig Brown?