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Well, who would've guessed...

Discussion in 'Personal' started by nomad, Nov 11, 2019.

  1. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    The head of Britain’s “strictest school” has said that children are using the “race card” when in disputes with teachers.

    Katharine Birbalsingh, headteacher and founder of Michaela Community School in Brent, north west London, said that black pupils “have an extra card to play” when they are in trouble.

    She warned parents to take their children's claims of “racism” with a pinch of salt if they are being disciplined at school.


    install likes this.
  2. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Does she fill in the form to report it to the LA each time? Or, as a Free School, is that something else FS don;t have to do?
  3. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Actually it was our school management that used to scrutinise the behaviour database and then point the finger at individual teachers who sanctioned x black kids a month.

    It was one of my more rewarding tasks to sift through the data and identify those teachers who coincidentally had far higher numbers of EM kids in their classes and thus a much higher probability of sanctioning more.
    sabrinakat, agathamorse and BetterNow like this.
  4. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    I'm not surprised at anything she says. She seems to routinely talk absolute unevidenced gibberish about teachers and teaching. Has a long track record of it.

    Now she's outed herself as a safeguarding risk.
  5. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

  6. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    She comes across very well and seems to have a pretty good idea what she is talking about...

    Certainly better than any other head teacher I've worked under. Now you once told me I had to listen to black voices more (as if somehow you had any clue who I "listened" to) and here you are dismissing probably the most high profile black voice in modern education...

    Maybe you shouldn't be so dismissive? You could learn a thing or two...
    agathamorse likes this.
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter


    I've heard her speak quite a bit and that does not incline me to take her part on any matter. She may be right about this for aught I know but she's wrong, wrong, wrong on so much more.

    MAGAorMIGA Star commenter

    Over my thirty-plus year career, we seem to have constantly marched back from "progressive" ideas about education to the "traditional" and the "tried and tested" often with disastrous results. These ultra-strict free schools and academies strike me as being petty Fascist fiefdoms with martinet autocratic "headteachers" who pay themselves exorbitant salaries, surround themselves with slavish yes-men and -women, and treat everyone else, junior staff and students alike, with arrant contempt and unrelenting tyranny. Schools seem to be a far cry from the ones I remember, with subject specialists given free rein to let their kids explore areas of their personal interest, often with startlingly creative results. The only creativity in the system now are the reports ny which heads disguise the true state of affairs from their Governors.
  9. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    Nothing new with this - I had pupils trying it on ('You're only punishing me 'cause I'm black') over a decade ago. The only way to avoid it was to follow school policy to the letter for all pupils ('No, you've been warned twice and now you are being sent pout of the classroom to the appropriate place in accordance with school policy').

    Of course if the SLT lack the guts to enforce their own policies, you're stuffed.
    agathamorse likes this.
  10. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    I've known about her for years. She's barking.

    Have a look at her social media. @Vince_Ulam can fill you in too.

    Maybe you can let us know if you agree with her recent comments about "believing" children. However you dress it up, it's wildly unprofessional and a safeguarding concern.
    vannie and MAGAorMIGA like this.
  11. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

  12. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    We are't jailers and though capable of many things we aren't in control of children's will, as Hertzberg implied (I liked him), we can make you do something (in his case for money) but can I make you want to do it? We can inspire but the will of the child is still key to learning in my view. To force children through an education "factory" ignoring their innate abilities, interests and creativity is bordering a human rights abuse... They may not be literally tortured but have to face this every day of their childhood, is this what we really want from education? The results can go two ways, compliant unthinking citizens or rebelliousness as soon as they are freed from the shackles if they manage remain free thinking. Young minds are delicate and economically valuable in terms of innovation, let's not snuff that out for the latest round of 'factory fodder'.
    agathamorse and grumpydogwoman like this.
  13. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    Thank god I do not have to put up with this sort of thing anymore since I retired from teaching.
  14. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I spent some time a few years ago trying to find out whether any schools, LA or academy/FS, were obliged to report racist incidents to their LA. Turned out that they don't. It was a recommendation of the Stephen Lawrence enquiry 20 years ago (Recommendation 68 of the Macpherson Report, February 1999) that schools should have a statutory duty to report and publish the number of racist incidents but the recommendation was never implemented. There was a debate in the House of Lords earlier this year (here) asking what the government intended to do about implementing the recommendation. The answer in effect was 'nothing'.
    agathamorse and nomad like this.
  15. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    That's interesting, because when I was a head (first decade of this century), I DID have to fill in a form and send it to my LA for every incident which was called out by any of those involved as racist. I also had to tell the parents of those involved that I had done so. There weren't many incidents; none were 'serious', but if a child claimed another had made a racist comment, however 'innocuous', reported it had to be. The guidance was along the lines of 'if someone thinks what has been said / done is racist, then it is racist and must be reported to the LA.'
  16. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    That's true for all hate crimes, I think. If I perceive a remark as homophobic I can report it. I wonder if that works for white students though. If a white student thinks someone is being treated unfairly due to their colour? Would their report be given any credence?

    How often DO white students stand up against racism? Or straight students call out homophobic language? Ho hum. Ignore me.
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Yes, many (most?) LAs did start asking for those reports after the publication of the Macpherson Report, generally implying (but rarely stating unequivocally) that it was a statutory duty on schools. They were anticipating the recommendation would be implemented but it wasn't. I don't know of any LAs who went further and published school-by-school the number of incidents but some may have done. 20 years ago of course nearly all schools were LA schools, who knows whether academies would have had the duty imposed on them if the recommendation had ever become law.

    The reason I looked into this on behalf of my governors was that we reported our racist incidents to our LA and heads saw the LA summary. Our head noticed that some schools weren't reporting anything, and others reported numbers of incidents that, from our local knowledge, were unfeasibly low. That's how I discovered the LA had no powers to enforce the reporting.

    I think you put your finger on why successive governments, both Labour and Conservative, haven't made it a statutory duty; the 'definition' problem. Inevitably if the number of incidents for every school were published someone would create 'league tables'. And just as inevitably context would be ignored and inner city schools with diverse ethnic intakes would have come at the top of those league tables. Cue: unjustified attacks on 'failing schools' from the tabloid press. And as night follows day schools would have responded by 'gaming the system', something very easy to do when a precise definition of a 'racist incident' would be next to impossible to pin down. (Example: I was once told in all seriousness by a governor in another part of the country that they could never have a problem with racism/racist incidents/racial bullying in his school because all the pupils were White British :rolleyes: )

    The number of incidents reported isn't the number of racist incidents that actually happened. It's the number of incidents the school knew about. And that depends on how diligently they looked....
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
    sbkrobson and chelsea2 like this.
  18. defenceagainstthedarkarts

    defenceagainstthedarkarts Occasional commenter

    This seems to rather assume that creativity is the ultimate aim in education.

    If you give most children a pen and paper, paints, a musical instrument, a lump of clay, a pair of ballet shoes, they will not be any more creative with them than you or I would - assuming you aren’t Anna Pavlova’s ghost :)

    Creativity and arts tend to go hand in hand, yet an enormous amount of success in the arts is not down to sheer creativity and sitting down and letting the wonder of the muses take you. It is practicing scales over and over, it is honing your technique, it is hours spent at the barre or practicing dribbling skills on the football pitch.

    Letting kids explore areas of personal interest in my classroom would mean projects about Fortnite, reality TV and makeup. I don’t say that to be disparaging, either - my personal interest was Take That at the same age (I loved Robbie Williams, to my shame: I did grow out of it.)

    I do think subliminal and subtle racism is a huge problem in Britain. Here, it isn’t generally overt but is shown through indifference (as per Stephen Lawrence) and through whispered sets of beliefs that are more common than people might think.

    Nonetheless, even recognising that as I do, I don’t see this in schools.
    Rott Weiler likes this.
  19. MAGAorMIGA

    MAGAorMIGA Star commenter

    I wouldn't describe creativity as "the ultimate aim", but we sure could use a lot more teacher autonomy in the system than we have. Before too long we'll all be replaced by Skype anyway - one teacher will teach 25,000 students simultaneously over a Skype lesson projected onto the whiteboard, with the classrooms patrolled by disciplinary wardens making sure kids are on task for the minimum wage.
    agathamorse and needabreak like this.
  20. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Only if the children are strapped to their seats or are given an electric shock if they decide to switch off early or fall asleep in front of their screen.
    agathamorse likes this.

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