Ms Katharine Birbalsingh read French and Philosophy at Oxford University, followed by a PGCE at the Institute of Education. She later gained her NPQH qualification. Before coming to Michaela, Ms Birbalsingh spent her teaching career in London, moving through the ranks from teacher through middle management, to deputy headship. In various roles at other schools, she transformed behaviour systems and significantly raised achievement. Ms Birbalsingh is known for her belief in rigour and high standards. Now, as Headmistress at Michaela, she takes great pride in seeing the impact Michaela’s methods are having across the country. With several teacher guests visiting the school daily, Ms Birbalsingh is inspired by the regular feedback from teachers, senior leaders and other headteachers, who explain how they have implemented Michaela’s methods at their schools and in their classrooms. They want their pupils to be like Michaela’s pupils, progressing on average at twice the national rate.
Ms Birbalsingh has twenty years of experience supporting students with an inner city background applying to Oxbridge. She knows the process of application and interview well. Over the years, she has interviewed several Oxbridge admissions tutors, gaining a wealth of knowledge, which informs her understanding of the application process.
She has visited and taught in schools abroad, from South Africa, to New York, to China. She has written two books and has published widely in national newspapers while also making countless television and radio appearances. Ms Birbalsingh most recently edited The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Teachers, a book published by Michaela’s teachers on the values the school espouses. Ms Birbalsingh has also spoken at a variety of conferences on educational issues, always voicing the belief that children could achieve more, if only schools and families were to expect the very best of them.
Ms Jessica Lund graduated from Christ Church, Oxford with a degree in Literae Humaniores (Classics), specialising in ancient languages, philology and linguistics. In addition to fluent French and Spanish, conversational German and Italian, she taught herself Greek and Latin in preparation for her studies at Oxford. Her love of languages led her to train as a French and Spanish teacher, having travelled extensively in France, Spain and Latin America. She joined Michaela from an excellent secondary school in South-East London, where she was Head of French. Ms Lund has a particular interest in etymology (the study of the origins of words) and the science of language learning, as well as in French and Spanish film, literature, history and politics.
Ms Lund was the first member of her family to attend university in the UK, and the first pupil from her school to be awarded a place at Christ Church. While at Oxford, she represented the university in international debating competitions and was an active member of the university’s extracurricular scene. As a member of the Oxford University Access Scheme, she helped pupils both before and during the interview process to ensure that they demonstrated their potential. Since leaving Oxford, she has successfully coached numerous pupils for entry to Oxbridge and Russell Group universities, focusing on personal statement writing, interview technique and advising pupils on how to improve their academic profile in order to stand out in a very competitive field.
Through her work with the Higher Education Access Network (HEAN), St John’s College Oxford and the pupils she has coached, Ms Lund has developed a profound insight into the requirements of the country’s top universities and how to ensure that pupils stand out from the crowd. She is immensely excited at the prospect of preparing Michaela Sixth Form pupils for entry to the best higher education institutions in the world.