In conversation

The Contrarian Prize presents - Against the Grain: How a brave Headteacher spearheaded an educational revolution

Katharine Birbalsingh in Conversation with Ali Miraj – 25 November 2020
Due to the challenges of Covid a “virtual” conversation was between Katharine Birbalsingh, winner of the 2019 prize.

Katharine turned the educational orthodoxy, on how best to teach children, on its head. She made headlines in 2010 after publicly speaking out about how lack of discipline and low standards in inner city schools had left the education system broken and kept “poor children poor”.

The decision to put her head above the parapet meant her position as Deputy Head of a school in Camberwell became untenable and she resigned. She was told by headhunters that she would probably never work in the state education sector again and the stress affected her health. After three years out in the cold, she managed to establish her own “free school” in Brent which had its first set of GCSE results in 2019, and ranked 5th in the country on progress in its 8 core subjects.

Katharine shared her extraordinary story and how she shaped the culture within her school that provides the foundation for its success.

You can watch the debate here