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Leopold Primary School: Police called to ‘toxic’ protest at troubled school ahead of head’s retirement

PUBLISHED: 13:42 15 March 2018 | UPDATED: 17:39 15 March 2018

Leopald Primary School protest (Picture: Jonathan Goldberg)

Leopald Primary School protest (Picture: Jonathan Goldberg)

Jonathan Goldberg www.jongoldberg.co.uk

Police were called to a protest at a troubled primary school in Harlesden where the head has announced retirement plans after allegations of “bullying and harassment” towards staff.

A former parent, whose three children attended Leopold Primary School under the stewardship of Audrey Kendall, led the protest with a megaphone yesterday afternoon in Hawkshead Road.

As reported by the Times last week, a three-day strike is planned by National Education Union members at the school on March 20 to 22, which has a second site in Brentfield Road, which police also attended.

The father, who asked not to be named, roused a baying crowd of mostly ex-parents who had gathered in support of the outgoing headmistress.

He said: “The teachers are going on strike because they want the disciplinary actions against them to be stopped.

Leopald Primary School protest (Picture: Jonathan Goldberg) Leopald Primary School protest (Picture: Jonathan Goldberg)

“In the interest of transparency and clarity, those grievances should still be held. If they feel there is nothing to answer to then all fair and well, but the parents are not happy with what’s going on.

“This is parents and friends. Some of the parents have asked past parents to come and show their support. But 90 per cent of the people here no longer have children here at the school.”

He warned of further protests, adding: “If the NEU decides to strike we can confidently say that they will not have any pavement space because we will have every single parent out here.

“It is not the NEU that runs the school, it’s the parents that run the school. If the teachers want to walk out, we can have the students walk out.

Leopald Primary School protest (Picture: Jonathan Goldberg) Leopald Primary School protest (Picture: Jonathan Goldberg)

“Brent needs to wake up on this matter.”

One parent, who didn’t want to be named for fear of reprisals towards her daughter, said: “The atmosphere at the protest was really toxic and unpleasant with libellous slogans encouraging harassment of hard working teachers.

“I had to take my daughter out by the nursery exit because she was terrified. She is now saying she doesn’t want to come to school any more. I later heard them shouting abuse outside a staff member’s house. How is this in the best interests of our children?”

As reported by the Times on March 7, 13 staff members submitted formal grievances against Ms Kendall in October.

An independent investigator was appointed by the then chair of governors to look into the allegations.

According to the NEU, the investigator’s report was submitted to council officers and the school’s governing body in December which has still not been released.

The NEU said: “Several of [the staff who have submitted grievances] have been subject to disciplinary allegations, at the instigation of the headteacher.”

Ms Kendall announced her retirement, set for March 29, days later.

Phil Pardoe, NEU regional officer, said: “I understand the feelings of parents that they don’t want their children’s education disrupted. However, they don’t know the facts.

“They have been told Ms Kendall has been cleared where the reality is the investigation outcome hasn’t been released.

“If we can reach a resolution in the next 24 hours that will prevent the need for strike action – those guarantees include the safety of our members, their physical safety and safety from victimisation – it will be difficult for them to strike.”

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12 comments

  • I think I've got to the bottom of the Bear costume incident. According to my friend who lives there, there was actually someone in a Bear costume walking down Oldfield Road, carrying a placard reading "We can't Bear it". But they were stopped by Police from reaching the protest on Hawkshead as the coppers were afraid it might cause a breach of the peace. Judging by the reaction to the Bear costume on here, it looks as if they were right.

    Report this comment

    JohnCheiron

    Monday, March 19, 2018

  • The fact that is article is so far from the truth is disgusting and ridiculous. The protest was beyond peaceful and not one bit volatile, the reporter who wrote this article needs to reevaluate what they are writing think about talking the truth. The parents at this protest were simply standing up for what they believe in and trying to protect their children's education which the teachers are jeopardising by striking, they clearly are not thinking of our children and their futures.

    Report this comment

    Suzi Roche

    Saturday, March 17, 2018

  • What amazes me is out of all the people who were there with cameras and phones only this one “friend” of yours has managed to see this so called person in a bears costume. Perhaps all our eyesights were failing us. Or perhaps he did see someone on Oldfield Road in a bears costume which would go to show it had nothing to do with the protest as the protest was on Hawkshead Road. Ridiculous ! Again trying to make a certain group look a certain way.

    Report this comment

    Jamb

    Friday, March 16, 2018

  • Then your friend is. I was there. You should stop listen rumours and get facts. About everything in life. Duh !

    Report this comment

    mrjo588

    Friday, March 16, 2018

  • Kilburn Times were you at the same protest I witnessed ?! This is absolutely disgusting and typical of the media to try and make a group of people look a certain way had this of been in Notting Hill Gate or Chelsea I’m pretty sure this write up would have been completely different. This protest was very controlled and within in the zone it was suppose to stay in, not once did police have to say anything to protestors in fact I do recall the protestors thanking the police for their time, and the police smiling because of this. There is twisting the truth and there are lies and this piece you have decided to print is pure lies. It’s disgraceful !

    Report this comment

    Jamb

    Friday, March 16, 2018

  • You shouldn't really bandy around words like "troll" and "lunatics" when you're not even prepared to acknowledge whether this rumour was true or not. I have a good friend who lives on Oldfield Road who claims to have taken a picture of the Bear costume. I'll track him down and try and upload it later.

    Report this comment

    JohnCheiron

    Friday, March 16, 2018

  • Get a life John. Just another troll. scroll down if you have nothing to say.

    Report this comment

    mrjo588

    Friday, March 16, 2018

  • I'm still not sure what you're saying. Was there a Bear costume or not?? And if there was, who was wearing it??? If it was a teacher they should have been in class teaching.

    Report this comment

    JohnCheiron

    Friday, March 16, 2018

  • Don't listen to any Gossip . bear costume? seriously? Off sick teachers are lunatics. Police were called before ANY parent turned up. Kilburn Times you are toxic. who paid you? I assume it was teacher who drove past twice laughing. Get yourself together and look what you are doing to the future generation.

    Report this comment

    mrjo588

    Friday, March 16, 2018

  • I heard that there was someone dressed as a bear at this protest, holding a placard which read "We can't Bear it". This seems utterly ridiculous, and demonstrates with how little seriousness the protesters are treating this awful situation, It must have cost them a bit to hire the bear costume, and what was the point of it anyway??

    Report this comment

    JohnCheiron

    Friday, March 16, 2018

  • I am a parent. It is unfortunate the teachers have to go on strike.However bullying and harassing teachers by the head teacher is not acceptable. It is not just one teacher who is accusing her. More than 13 teachers are accusing her from both sites of the primary school. This is a fact. Sats exams are around the corner and the head is sacking agency teachers because they are sympathetic towards the teachers who are been bullied. How can this be right? What is Brent Council doing and why don't they stand up for once to protect the children and the teachers. Also what is the School Governors doing about this? They cannot just sit on the fence and play safe. What is the point of having school governors I just don't get it? I attended the parents meeting last week and the governors couldn't give any answers to our questions. I really don't understand why a meeting was called in the first place. People are confused because the investigation of the head is not published. If she is clear of the allegations i cant see any reason why the report cant be published. Its common sense!!! Something is been hidden that is why the retirement of the head came with only 3 WEEKS notice and A SUBSTANTIAL PAY OFF!!!

    Report this comment

    joshbenji

    Friday, March 16, 2018

  • I am shocked to read this editorial, and a piece of writing that is so far from the truth of the actual events. This is what one would term as ' FAKE NEWS'. The journalists involved should in fact be apologising to every single parent who took the effort to stand and voice their concerns and opinion, in a very peaceful static protest that was observed by a number of bystanders on the street including myself. It is most concerning that all the information that has been noted in this article with regards to this 'PEACEFUL PROTEST' are in accurate. The fact is that within that crowd of 30 people there were only 3 parents who did not have children at the school, but did have extended family or friend's children within the school and were therefore supporting the plight of these people. Once again you still insist on printing a very biased view that supports the NEU, and not looking at this situation in a more objective way. You also choose to print some statement from a parent who happens to be one of the main instigators that has proceeded to stir up animosity amongst the parents within certain social media group chats with the pure aim of projecting a very negative and destructive view point towards the peaceful protestors and the headteacher. In addition, this particular source claims that protestors were hurling abusive shouting at a member of staff's house. Quite frankly this is a fabrication on their part. The protest took place in front of 6 policeman who were briefed prior to the congregating parents what the protest was concerning. At no time did the protesters move away from this zone. What is more disturbing about this article is also the editing of the submitted photos which do not capture the full spectrum of events and the parents who were simply standing up for their cause. Reports like this are very divisive in multi cultural communities. It portrays these parents in a very negative light. These are parents who care about their school and are more transparent than a large proportion of the parents who choose to hide behind the social media platform. What is more sickening is that you still insist on allowing this so called NEU representative to quote incorrect information about the headteacher's investigation. No one wishes to print the truth as it will weaken the striking teachers cause, thus allowing those teachers within the union to hold the school to ransom, which is appalling. These teachers are still threatening to strike and therefore not looking out for the children's or the school's interest. Articles like this only stir up more resentment amongst these communities.

    Report this comment

    KHID

    Thursday, March 15, 2018

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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