'White teachers should teach ethnic minority children national anthem', says Britain's strictest head

18 October 2022, 10:58 | Updated: 18 October 2022, 11:30

The headteacher said the national anthem should be taught even if children are uncomfortable
The headteacher said the national anthem should be taught even if children are uncomfortable. Picture: Getty

By Will Taylor

White teachers should teach the national anthem to children who are from an ethnic minority even if they feel uncomfortable, a headteacher and Government social mobility tsar has insisted.

Katharine Birbalsingh said children could believe they don't belong in the UK if they don't learn God Save the King.

In a Monday evening lecture at the University of Oxford, she said: "The teaching of basic cultural knowledge can be even worse with ethnic minority children because the thinking is that ethnic minority children cannot identify with so-called 'white' things," she said.

"White teachers feel uncomfortable having ethnic minority children sing the National Anthem.

"But who loses out? The child who is taught over and over by his school, by the media, by us all, that he does not belong to his own country. How is any child meant to succeed in a country that he does not view as his own?"

Read more: Schoolteacher 'sacked for misgendering trans pupil'

Ms Birbalsingh is a prominent figure in education and is known for establishing the Michaela Community School in Wembley, which has a strict approach to discipline.

She claimed the "march is on" in schools to "decolonise" the curriculum and that failing to allow children from ethnic minorities the chance to call themselves British would leave them "ripe for radicalisation" or "belonging in a gang".

She added: "Preventing poor kids from accessing British cultural knowledge, like knowledge of Britain's history, of our great works of literature, of knowledge of our habits and customs is to shut them in a cage."

Read more: Extend school hours to help parents with childcare costs, children’s tsar urges

Ms Birbalsingh added that some commentators were shocked to see her school had sung the national anthem, worn black and flown the Union flag at half mast.

She previously said she had been reported to police about a hate crime after inviting controversial Canadian academic Jordan Peterson to talk at the school.

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