Leopold Primary School head Audrey Kendall announces retirement – days after union threatens to go on strike

PUBLISHED: 18:27 12 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:59 15 March 2018

Embattled headteacher Audrey Kendall, pictured at the opening of the Kendall building that takes her name in 2012.

Embattled headteacher Audrey Kendall, pictured at the opening of the Kendall building that takes her name in 2012.


The embattled head of Leopold Primary School this afternoon announced her retirement at the end of March.

Leopold Primary School Leopold Primary School

Audrey Kendall’s letter to parents comes days after union members at the Harlesden school threatened to go on strike over allegations she had subjected some to “bullying and harassment”.

It makes no reference to the row with the National Education Union and instead focuses on her pride at having spent three decades at the helm.

Ms Kendall adds she has been planning her retirement for some time, but that the expansion of the school across two sites delayed the move.

An acting headteacher will take over after the Easter holidays, with Ms Kendall’s final day set to be March 29.

“I am really excited at the prospect of beginning a new phase in my life with new opportunities,” she wrote.

“Please understand I have made this decision of my own accord, and I am immensely proud that I have fulfilled my duty to the children and the school.”

She also urged parents to keep the afternoon of March 24 free for a fireworks display and bouncy castle at the school’s Gwenneth Rickus site.

The NEU had vowed to strike for three days from March 20 if Ms Kendall was not suspended while the allegations were investigated.

According to the union, an independent investigator was appointed by Brent Council to look into the allegations last year and the investigator’s report was submitted to council officers and the school’s governing body in December.

Since then, it is claimed the staff who made the complaints have been subject to disciplinary allegations.

The school, which has two sites in Hawkshead Road and Brentfield Road, has 801 pupils according to its website.

Phil Pardoe, NEU regional officer, said in a statement on Wednesday: “National Education Union members at Leopold Primary School in Brent have voted by a clear margin to take strike action over bullying and harassment by the headteacher.”

Of the independent investigator’s report, he added: “The complainants have still not been informed of the outcome of the investigation, in clear breach of the grievance procedure.

“Meanwhile several of those members have been subject to disciplinary allegations, at the instigation of the headteacher.”

He said Ms Kendall should have no involvement in any disciplinary procedures until the issues arising from the grievances have been resolved.

He added: “The allegations are very serious. It is completely unacceptable for the governors and Brent to sit on the report, and refuse to take any action to protect our members.

“We still hope to find a negotiated solution, but our members have reluctantly decided that they have no option but to take strike action in the face of the unacceptable behaviour of the head and the seeming indifference of the governors and Brent.”

Ms Kendall told the Times: “We are not going to make a comment.” That evening, parents demanded answers from governors, whose acting chair Kofi Baah said he couldn’t discuss “confidential information about an ongoing investigation”.

Brent Council has ignored repeated requests for comment in the wake of the union’s statement and the parents’ meeting, to which it did not send a representative.

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  • There was a previous post on this article that was completely untrue and highly defamatory. Miss Amy Reece teaches my friend's daughter currently and she states that she is the best teacher she have come across in a long time. We have asked Mrs Kendall to find more like her as Leopold appears to have quite a few unsatisfactory teachers and support staff currently but alas Mrs Kendall is leaving too soon. The former staff member who made those defamatory statements has been identified as a "disturbed trouble maker with a history of dismissals for unacceptable conduct" by her agency and sounds completely unproffessional and unsuitable to work with children. Mrs Kendall as always you have made a good call to dismiss such a disgracful individual, appointed by the rouge SLT. at Leopold who look for unqualified people to hire instead of excellence or expertise as this makes them feel superior. This rogue SLT at Leopold must GO!!!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Constance Williams

    Thursday, March 15, 2018

  • I think it's disgusting that a group of rogue teachers and spineless board of governors have orchestrated this conspiracy. All of those teachers who held the school to ransom as they couldn't face the music when disciplined for their unprofessional actions should be dismissed. These teachers including the senior ring leaders have created a very toxic, divisive environment which is complete contradiction of what Leopold core values are about. Mrs Kendall is a great head teacher and very fair person and has always looked out for the interests of the school, children and parents. With Mrs Kendall's departure the school will never be restored to its glory as these rogue teachers who have created this mess have no values whatsoever. Their idea of running a school would have the establishment fall into special measures in no time. Those people in question are absolutely clueless. Mrs Kendall deserves better and more respect.

    Add your comment | Report this comment


    Monday, March 12, 2018

  • The teachers that plotted against mrs kendall are useless teachers who dont do their job properly. One of them who i wont name used to teach my child and for most lessons my child told me the teacher would play minecraft on a tablet with them. This happened a number of times. This same teacher also did not teach my child properly for the whole year in that class. Homework was never set by this said teacher and they teacher was also very lazy. Another member of staff who was a more senior member of staff also was very rude and never wanted to talk to a certain race of parents. Im very upset that these members of staff have succeeded in getting mrs kendall to leave. Mrs kendall is a very lovely head teacher who has always done her ultimate best for the school, i think the school will go downhill once shes gone. I have a child who is leaving this year and i am very upset that mrs kendall will not be at my childs graduation. I think cetain members of staff at this school should not be there. The ones that wanted to strike are useless anyway. I say get rid of them.

    Add your comment | Report this comment


    Monday, March 12, 2018

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