Not sure about this to be honest

Singing patriotic songs in assemblies makes teenagers feel proud to be British, a headteacher of a leading inner city school has said.

Katharine Birbalsingh said singing the songs twice a week instilled “resilience” and a connection to the UK among her pupils, the vast majority of whom are from a black or ethnic minority background.

Ms Birbalsingh’s students at Michaela Community School in Brent, north London sing the National Anthem, I Vow To Thee My Country or Jerusalem twice a week.

Thing is, Birbalsingh’s been right about so much in education that it seems picky, pendantic even, to be questioning such details….

25 thoughts on “Not sure about this to be honest”

  1. This is why the boyos at Rorke’s Drift sang “Men of Harlech” at the hordes of fed-up Zulus – it was a last-ditch attempt to turn them British.

    Not a lot of people know that.

  2. Devil’s Kitchen

    Michaela’s really impressive. Makes Slough Grammar kids look lazy, sloppy and ill-disciplined.

    (I was on the original committee that set the school up, so I had a tour to see what we had wrought.)


  3. @ Jonathan
    Mine – whosoever I am.
    The hymn is universally valid for true patriots of whatever nationality. [My headmaster defended it on the grounds that Her Majesty’s coronation oath was to God, because its theology sounds a bit dodgy.]

  4. If they have to sing something why not have them sing something traditional and overtly British, or English? It’ll be a drop in their oceans and might introduce them to new old ideas.

  5. Sounds like Birbalsingh’s on a one woman crusade to piss off the progressives. More power to her elbow.

  6. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    Teenagers may love it – when I was at school, we were all itching to get ar the Argies – but the teachers won’t like it. We never had prayers or hymns in assemblies.

    Most of my teachers were Militant or at least Marxist, and this was in the early 80s. We were an ex grammar that had been comprehensivised, by my third form in 1980 all the old guard of teachers had retired and the serious decline began. Mind you it wasn’t helped by being run by the ILEA, an education authority so Stalinist, I suspect that it was really a front for the DDR government who wanted to try out their more extreme policies to see if they could fly at home.

  7. Bloke no Longer in Austria said:
    “when I was at school, we were all itching to get at the Argies – but the teachers won’t like it”

    Same here; we kept being told off by the teachers for being huddled around the Telegraph war maps, despite their usual complaints that we didn’t take enough interest in current affairs – definitely the “wrong sort” of interest.

    But it was a useful lesson – don’t trust the Left when they talk about principles, they only do it when it suits their ends.

  8. Sounds fine to me, sounds like Jonathan Haidt’s collective Euphoria and sublimation of the personal.

    My school sang Jerusalem every assembly, but we were a grammar school, and being a student there 1999-07ish it was rare

  9. People need an identity. If they are not given one then they will find one
    Some identities are benign, encouraging people to feel good about themselves without hating others.
    Other identities are malign, encouraging people to feel good about themselves and hate others
    Presuming a sensible selection from the available patriotic songs then this is a good move. It should discourage the pupils from adopting a malign identity.

  10. there is (or at least was) an idea that you emigrated to America to become an American.

    Obviously here in the UK you emigrate to Britain from Shitholistan in order to set up a colony of Shitholistan in the UK. The fuckwits in charge of the UK will give you a grant to do so and you’ll get called a racist if you suggest their culture is not particularly British.

    Which begs the question of why Labour is so popular among Muslims. Labour isn’t supposed to tolerate sexism and homophobia yet those appear stable parts of the Muslim diet.

    Still, you have to do the maths and remember that the 2.5m UK Muslims vote 85% Labour. No wonder Corbyn is happy to tolerate a bit of Jew bashing.

  11. They never sang Jerusalem at my comprehensive school in the seventies. I learnt it from prog rock trio Emerson Lake and Palmer.

  12. Bloke in North Dorset

    Sounds like Birbalsingh’s on a one woman crusade to piss off the progressives. More power to her elbow.

    Pcar beat me to it, she did that a very long time ago and just continues in the same vain.

    She gets personal freedom, liberty and responsibility and also the need for a good stable environment for children to learn. Anyone that is prepared to go on the Rubin Report and then invite Dave Rubin to speak to her school knows what she’s doing, so I’d be quite relaxed about those songs if my son had gone there. In fact, that’s the sort of school he would have thrived at, rather than the wishy washy one he ended up at.

  13. Pupils from a black background *ARE* from an ethnic minority background.

    I’ve seen this illiteracy growing everywhere, but don’t know what to call it. What’s it called when you conjoin a member of a group with the group itself?
    Apples and fruit
    Cabbages and vegetables
    Women and people
    Cars and transport
    until the end of the month, UK and the EU.

  14. “I’ve seen this illiteracy growing everywhere, but don’t know what to call it.”


    It originates from the time long, long ago when they called them all “black”. Then someone pointed out that was wrong, as a lot of people called “black” were not actually black as such, so it became “black, asian, and minority ethnic”. (They didn’t think very hard about that, obviously.) They were still obviously thinking “black”, and wanted to retain the word, but offering a sop to try to keep the pedants from writing them any more letters with sections underlined in green ink. Then the welsh and scots complained that they were ‘minority ethnic’ but didn’t get included. And I think the Chinese and Japanese were not happy at getting lumped in together with the others.

    But it’s how it’s defined in government statistics, now, and if you change the definition it messes all the time series up. So we’re stuck with it.

  15. @ Chris Miller no part of them will ever be majority. Muslims have disagreements amongst themselves, as well as with Sihks, Hindus, Chinese and practically everyone except white self styled elites. All the others have disparate interests as well. So even if the majority of the country ceases to be native, no other group will be able to dominate.
    If we could only get the self styled elite to fall out with the Muslims they too would be reduced in both power and number – that latter by apostasy not death or expulsion. Once the Muslim identity ceases to offer advantages it will be abandoned, not by all but by many.

  16. My Chinese-born then-wife was mightly dischuffed when she started a public sector job and told she should join the Black staff association.

  17. @Pat
    97% of the current 2.7m (if we believe official figures) British Muslims are Sunni, there are only about 75,000 Iranian Shi’a here. An increasing proportion are Wahhabis (very hardline Sunnis) because a lot of funding for mosques comes from Saudi Arabia.

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