Woke head teacher who ‘indoctrinated’ pupils at £32k-a-year school quits
The headteacher of Britain’s most expensive day school has resigned following a row over a new ‘woke’ agenda at the £32,650-a-year institution.
Robin Appleby last week told trustees at the American School in London (ASL) that she will be quitting as head of school from January – less than five years after she was appointed.
Her resignation came after a group of parents wrote a 12-page letter complaining that their children were being ‘indoctrinated’ in the ‘controversial and divisive’ ideology of critical race theory.
Robin Appleby, pictured, last week told trustees at the American School in London (ASL) that she will be quitting as head of school from January
What is critical race theory?
Critical race theory is a controversial academic hypothesis that was first introduced in America in the 1970s.
Public interest in the debate ramped up after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020, with Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the globe.
At its core, critical race theory argues that race is a social construct and that racism is intrinsically embedded within law, politics and society as a whole, as opposed to bias or prejudice being displayed by individuals.
Its high-profile supporters include American politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, The New York Times and Black Lives Matter groups.
The debate surrounding critical race theory regards concerns that some children are being indoctrinated into thinking that white people are inherently racist or sexist.
Those against critical race theory have argued it reduces people to the categories of ‘privileged’ or ‘oppressed’ based on their skin color, while also discriminating against white people in order to achieve equality.
Supporters, however, say the theory is vital to eliminating racism because it examines the ways in which race may influence politics, culture and the law.
They said ‘every subject, from art to literature to history, is now being taught through a prism of race or gender’ – one revolving around the ideas of white and male privilege.
The letter also alleged that a recent decision to create racially segregated after-school clubs, in which pupils mix solely with peers of the same ethnicity, was illegal as it breaches the Equality Act.
The accusations have rocked the prestigious school, near Regent’s Park, whose alumni include Hollywood star Kathleen Turner and Police drummer Stewart Copeland.
Founded in 1951, it is seen as a ticket to top grades and the best US universities, with former footballer Thierry Henry and Hollywood actress Salma Hayek among parents at the school gates.
Although presented as a resignation, sources last night said the head’s departure was forced by the board of trustees after a furious revolt by parents.
One parent celebrated her departure but claimed that several teachers remain who ‘appear resolute in their determination to continue to indoctrinate our children into this racist and toxic ideology’.
A recent email from the board’s chairman told parents: ‘Robin Appleby has given us notice of her resignation, effective as of January 1, 2022.
‘Robin has informed the board that she now needs to focus on her own wellbeing and that of her family, which we fully understand.’
The move comes five months after the group of parents wrote their letter criticising the school’s decision to teach the theory.
This was sparked by the tragic killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota last year, triggering worldwide anti-racism protests.
During the holidays, parents were sent an email declaring that, in the wake of that unrest, ASL had decided to implement a ‘detailed action plan’ to improve its policies on ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ as well as ‘social justice’.
Parents were instructed in how to ‘raise anti-racist children’ and ‘recognise their own implicit biases’
Teachers also launched an ‘affinity group’ for 13- and 14-year-olds who were ‘questioning their gender expression, gender identity and/or sexuality’, or thought they might belong ‘to the LGBTQI+ spectrum’, or be ‘non-binary or gender nonconforming’.
Staff began signing off emails by citing their ‘preferred pronoun’, to indicate whether they wished to be called ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘they’.
The headteacher of the American School in London (ASL), pictured, has resigned following a row over a new ‘woke’ agenda at the £32,650-a-year institution
The school is seen as a ticket to top grades and the best US universities, with former footballer Thierry Henry and Hollywood actress Salma Hayek (pictured) among parents at the school gates
One parent said last night: ‘Although it has been presented to the ASL community as a resignation, Robin Appleby’s sudden and unexpected departure as head of school is being viewed by many parents as a decision imposed upon her unilaterally by the school’s board of trustees.
‘The flowery language in the announcement of her departure reads very much as if it were drafted by her lawyer.’
They added: ‘Appleby led the school’s recent adoption of its highly-controversial and divisive critical race theory agenda.
‘Unfortunately, she leaves behind many influential and senior members of the school’s administration and faculty who appear resolute in their determination to continue to indoctrinate our children into this racist and toxic ideology.’
The school did not respond to requests for comment.