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Katharine Birbalsingh

A lifelong supporter of state education, head teacher Katharine Birbalsingh chose a Conservative Party conference platform to declare Britain's state education system badly broken.

A lifelong supporter of state education, headteacher Katharine Birbalsingh chose a Conservative Party conference platform to declare Britain's state education system badly broken. She explains to presenter Dominic Lawson how she came to change her mind about Britain's education system.

She grew up a passionate supporter of socialism and became a teacher in Britain's state schools. But what Katharine Birbalsingh found there made her change her mind about the fundamentals of how schools are run and how pupils are taught. She chose the Conservative conference of 2010 to make a platform speech which attacked well-meaning liberals for ruining the education chances of many from low-income and ethnic minority backgrounds. Revealing herself to be a supporter of the new Conservative-led government, she felt ostracised by the state education system and has struggled for years to found her own free school.

Having established the Michaela Community School in north London, she is able to put her radical ideas into practice there, leading some to dub it the 'Strictest school in Britain'.

In "Why I Changed My Mind", Dominic Lawson interviews people who have changed their mind on controversial matters.

Producer: Jonathan Brunert.

Available now

15 minutes