Teach your children at home every day, Britain’s ‘strictest headteacher’ tells parents

Katharine Birbalsingh, founder of Michaela Community School in Wembley, says there has ‘never been a better time’ for youngsters to be taught at home

Chiara Giordano
Wednesday 05 January 2022 17:21
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<p>Katharine Birbalsingh says: ‘Teach them after school. Daily. Always. Other parents do. They just aren’t telling you’ </p>

Katharine Birbalsingh says: ‘Teach them after school. Daily. Always. Other parents do. They just aren’t telling you’

Parents should teach their children at home daily and not assume they are being taught well at school, a headteacher branded Britain’s strictest has warned.

Katharine Birbalsingh, founder and head of Michaela Community School (MCS) in Wembley, northwest London, said there has “never been a better time” for people to teach their children at home.

She wrote on Twitter: “Parents! Never has there been a better time for you to teach your kids at home.

“Don’t assume they are being taught well at school. You might get lucky. Great! But don’t assume it.

“Teach them after school. Daily. Always. Other parents do. They just aren’t telling you.”

Ms Birbalsingh, who was appointed as chair of the government’s social mobility commission in October, went on to say that “just eating dinner together and parents talking to their children makes such a difference to the development of a child”.

“Schools can try to make up for it (we do family lunch), but there is only so much a school can do,” she added.

The school leader advised parents could do one-to-one instruction which could then be revisited before bedtime.

“The power of the family is huge. Yet all we do is say, ‘schools should teach that!’,” she tweeted.

In 2010 Ms Birbalsingh was sacked as deputy head of an academy in Camberwell, south London, following a political row over a speech she gave to the Tory party conference, in which she described the UK’s education system as “broken”.

She said the system was failing the most vulnerable children because of a lack of discipline and standards.

The headteacher set up the MCS, which has an above-average number of pupils classed as disadvantaged, four years later in 2014. Her methods are controversial but get results.

Pupils must walk in single file and not talk to each other between lessons. They can also get detention for messy work, lateness or not having a pen to write with.

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