‘Being British binds us’ Strictest headmistress defends making pupils sing national anthem

Lorraine: ‘Strictest’ headmistress defends national anthem

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Katharine Birbalsingh, also known as Britain’s strictest headmistresses following her documentary aired on ITV, claimed making children sing the national anthem together at school is a practice that allows her pupils “to celebrate very much that we are British together”. Referring to the UK as a multicultural country, she explained “being British binds us” and stressed that “celebrating the fact that we’re all British” is the key to making Britain a “successful country where we’re all sharing something”.

Speaking with TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, Ms Birbalsingh said: “We celebrate very much that we are British together.

“And we sing God Save The Queen, Jerusalem and I Vow To Thee My Country.

“People think ‘why do you do this?’

“Because we live in a multicultural country.

“And the one thing that binds us is the fact that we’re all British together.

“And if we want a successful country.

“Where we’re all sharing something.

“I think we should celebrate the fact that we’re all British”.

In a previous interview with Ms Kelly, the headteacher explained her position and said: “It’s important to use praise with children but they need to know they’re making a choice when they’re naughty, there’s some kind of consequence. They know you’re always going to follow through.

“Being strict has a bad name. Being strict means you’re being consistent in your approach, that you love the child and that your goal is for them to be happy. There’s nothing wrong with telling them off when they’re naughty”.

Speaking in a recent interview with the Guardian, Ms Birbalsingh talked about school curriculum and the move to decolonise the English curriculum.

In light of the initiative, she warned that the move could mean that authors such as William Shakespeare could disappear from classrooms.


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The controversial headteacher stressed the importance of keeping “dead white men” on the curriculum as she claimed Shakespeare had already been “lost” in many places in the US and she’s worried the UK might follow the US trend.

In her interview, she explained her stance saying: “I think that dead white men have something to offer us.

Shakespeare has been influencing literature for over 400 years. It’s right to teach Shakespeare. The ideas in Shakespeare are universal.

“I’m worried about the trend in America that is now influencing what’s happening over here, where eventually we will do away with cultural icons like Shakespeare.”

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