Celebrity teachers and teaching celebrities

18th March 2011 at 00:00

Guilty as charged? Certainly guilty of unprofessional behaviour in failing to follow procedures relating to safeguarding children. Those who saw Ms Birbalsingh's performance at the Conservative party conference will have seen how she illustrated part of her diatribe with photographs of students at the school where she was deputy head for all of three or four weeks. She exposed "kids that I loved" to ridicule because these vulnerable young people were not articulate when talking about their anger management problems.

She asserts that parents' permission was given for the images to be used, but I would question whether she made it clear what she proposed to say about their children. Was this truly informed consent?

Bizarrely, later in the article she compares the state system to a paedophile and the teacher to a child victim. Adults working in any organisation may feel their managers are indulging in bullying behaviour, but to equate this to the horrifying experience of being abused by a paedophile is obscene.

Ms Birbalsingh failed to understand how she put her students potentially at risk from unwholesome attention when she identified them in such a public manner.

Barbara Veale, Lewisham, London.

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