Katharine Birbalsingh quits as UK government’s social mobility chair | Katharine Birbalsingh & More Trending News


The headteacher Katharine Birbalsingh has stop as the UK government’s social mobility head after little greater than a yr, admitting her outspoken views meant she was “doing more harm than good”.

Birbalsingh, who got here to prominence a decade in the past as a critic of the UK’s “broken” colleges system, and has since been labelled Britain’s strictest headteacher, mentioned she had realised her presence as chair of the Social Mobility Commission (SMC) undermined its impartiality.

“I come with too much baggage to be as effective as I would like to be as chair. I have become increasingly aware of how my notoriety puts the SMC in jeopardy,” she wrote in a resignation letter to the ladies and equalities minister, Kemi Badenoch.

She added: “I want to be able to speak publicly about what I think is right and not worry that I am bringing the SMC into disrepute. People regularly say to me, ‘You can’t say that as chair of the SMC!’. The role gags me and turns me into someone that I’m not. When I weigh it all up, I’m doing the SMC more harm than good.”

In a separate article for Schools Week, she additionally mentioned she resented the position had turned her right into a politician, requiring her to be cautious and risk-averse in interviews. “I can’t bear the idea of ever being a politician. It just isn’t who I am or a skillset I wish to develop,” she mentioned, a line that didn’t make it into her formal resignation letter.

Birbalsingh based the Michaela Community free faculty in Wembley, north-west London, the place she is headteacher, in 2014. It has a infamous “no excuses” behaviour coverage and has been described as “outstanding” in all areas by Ofsted inspectors, and has achieved above common examination outcomes.

She mentioned in her resignation letter she realised her presence compromised the independence of fee’s work on the position of education in social mobility as a result of if it had been to seek out proof that Michaela’s strategy labored, many individuals would disbelieve it and assume “something sinister is going on”.

She blamed the media for making a storm of shock over her eminently quotable views, which – from her warning that Shakespeare’s presence on the curriculum was underneath menace from woke educators to her view that kids shouldn’t be allowed smartphones – appeared designed to impress debate.

Appointed as the six-days-a-month chair of the SMC in November 2021 by the then equalities minister, Liz Truss, she shortly confirmed a close to faultless means to create controversy. In April, she prompted outrage after suggesting ladies had been delay taking physics A-level as a result of it contained an excessive amount of “hard maths”.

A month later, she appeared in an ITV documentary entitled Britain’s Strictest Headmistress, by which she outlined her 12 golden guidelines for educating and elevating kids. They included not giving kids unsupervised entry to the web, instructing them gratitude, and stopping them from listening to grime or drill music.

In June, she attacked society’s obsession with a slender “rags to riches” view of social mobility, prompting criticism she believed that working-class kids ought to “stay in their lane” and never aspire to attend elite universities, a view she mentioned was a media misrepresentation.

In her formal response, Badenoch thanked Birbalsingh for efficiently giving the SMC a “strong sense of direction and purpose”. She shall be succeeded by SMC’s deputy chair, Alun Francis, the principal of Oldham College.

Katharine Birbalsingh quits as UK government’s social mobility chair | Katharine Birbalsingh

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