7 Views· 06/25/24· Education

A Message From the Strictest Headmistress in the UK | Katharine Birbalsingh | EP 458


Sharon Leonard
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(credits: Jordan B Peterson) Dr. Jordan B. Peterson sits down with the headmistress of the Michaela Community School, Katharine Birbalsingh. They discuss the importance of K-12 education, why it matters more than the universities in regard to the formation of thinking minds, how children can pursue both excellence and a life of dignity, and why strictness, absent tyranny, is the best form of education.

Katharine Birbalsingh is Headmistress and co-founder of Michaela Community School and former Chair of the Social Mobility Commission. She is known as “Britain’s Strictest Headmistress”, following the ITV documentary about Michaela. Michaela’s Progress 8 score placed the school top in the country the last two years. In 2023, OFSTED graded the school as “Outstanding” in every category. Birbalsingh read “Philosophy & Modern Languages” at the University of Oxford and has always taught in inner London. She has made numerous appearances on television, radio, and podcasts and has written for several publications. Birbalsingh has also written two books and edited another two, the last of which is “The Power of Culture,” which is about Michaela. Birbalsingh was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2020 and Honorary Fellow of New College, Oxford in 2021.

This episode was recorded on June 15th, 2024

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- Links -

For Katharine Birbalsingh:

On X https://x.com/miss_snuffy

Documentary on the Michaela school www.strictestheadmistress.com

Website for the Michaela Community school in Wembley, London. Here you can sign up for a visit www.michaela.education


- Chapters -

(0:00) Coming up
(0:17) Intro
(2:41) They protested the opening of a free school
(5:18) By all metrics the Michaela Community School is succeeding
(6:24) Small “c” conservatism and a shared set of cultural values
(11:15) The opposition — who were they?
(15:02) How different wealth classes value education
(18:01) Strictness absent tyranny
(22:13) The Michaela School is not selective: why they hyper-perform
(25:46) “When it comes to children, I think you’re all wrong”
(38:16) Thinking skills cannot be taught in isolation, the backdoor to progressivism
(41:22) Half of state revenue feeds the woke ideology
(43:37) Knowledge is key
(47:38) The libertarian Right, the difference between adults and children
(54:48) Good lecturing, pair work, merits, and demerits
(1:05:53) Creating a group culture: local and national
(1:10:37) The prediction of performance
(1:13:15) Sacrifice for the betterment of the whole
(1:16:42) Adults know better
(1:20:54) Living a life of dignity, happiness, and satisfaction
(1:24:44) Why you want to succeed in school


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// BOOKS //
Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life: https://jordanbpeterson.com/Beyond-Order
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos: https://jordanbpeterson.com/12-rules-for-life
Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief: https://jordanbpeterson.com/maps-of-meaning

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