Dinner lecture with Katharine Birbalsingh

31 May, 2018

KatharineBirbalsingh sq2On Thursday 31 May 2018, The New Zealand Initiative hosted Katharine Birbalsingh for a dinner lecture in Auckland.

New Zealand-born Katharine Birbalsingh studied at Oxford University before becoming a teacher. She shot to fame after delivering a single speech to the Conservative Party’s 2010 annual conference. In this speech, she declared Britain's state education system “broken” because it kept "poor children poor."

Four years later, Katharine had the chance to create a school different to those she had worked in and criticised. This school is Michaela Community School, a free school in Wembley, London.

At Michaela staff believe that all pupils, regardless of background, have a right to access the best that has been said and thought. Pupils are expected to be polite and respectful, thereby enabling them to access a curriculum that ensures they have sufficient knowledge of the world around them to transform it in the future.

Michaela School attracts hundreds of visitors every year. Its incredible performance was also officially confirmed last year when England’s equivalent to ERO – Ofsted – found it to be outstanding in every category. Inspectors praised the school’s “lively and engaging teaching,” teachers and leaders “shared understanding of successful teaching approaches” and pupils’ “exemplary” attitudes to learning.

Dinner lecture Katharine Birbalsingh


View photo gallery

Interviews with Katharine Birbalsingh

NZ Herald, 30 May 2018
New Zealand-born woman dubbed 'Britain's strictest teacher' ignores IT and teaches French

Mike Hosking Breakfast – Newstalk ZB, 31 May 2018

World's strictest teacher - could you handle her classes?

TVNZ Breakfast, 31 May 2018

Katharine Birbalsingh on Breakfast about UK's strictest school

Nine to Noon – Radio NZ, 31 May 2018

Katharine Birbalsingh: UK's Strictest School

Wellington Mornings with Heather du Plessis-Allan – Newstalk ZB, 31 May 2018
The Story of Michaela Community School

The Long Lunch – RadioLIVE, 31 May 2018

‘Britain’s strictest teacher’ is a Kiwi and she has some advice for our school


Around the world, many education systems struggle to bring a high-quality education to those students who need it most: Students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

But in one London school, a knowledge miracle is happening. Guided by headmistress Katharine Birbalsingh, Michaela School is changing children’s lives by challenging them to learn.

Described by Boris Johnson as an “incredible school”, Michaela School delivers where other schools often give up.

Join us for an inspiring evening with a revolutionary in education. 

About the speaker
Katharine Birbalsingh is the founder and headmistress of Michaela Community School, a free school established in 2014 in Wembley Park, London.

Born in New Zealand, she read French and Philosophy at Oxford University, followed by a PGCE at the Institute of Education.

She is the author of Singleholic (2009) and To Miss with Love (2011), and editor of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Teachers: The Michaela Way (2016). She has published widely in national newspapers while also making countless television and radio appearances.

Event Information

Date: Thursday 31 May 2018
Time: 6.00 pm 
Venue: Auckland War Memorial Museum, The Auckland Domain


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