Brent education chief to leave with 'outstanding' legacy

Gail Tolley

Gail Tolley - Credit: Brent Council

After 42 years of public service a top official is taking a well-earned retirement. 

Gail Tolley has this week announced she is stepping down from her role as strategic director for children and young people with Brent Council. 

She has worked in the borough for eight of her 18 years of serving local authorities.

Carolyn Downs, chief executive of Brent Council, said: “Gail puts children and young people at the centre of everything she does. 

"Under her leadership, the council has helped improve outcomes for the children of this borough. I would like to thank her for her years of dedicated service, and especially for her relentless advocacy for and with the young people of Brent. 

"As we search for our next strategic director for children and young people, we will be looking for someone to build upon Gail’s legacy as we strive to give every child in Brent the best start in life.”

Gail began her career in teaching and was a secondary school headteacher before moving into local government in 2004.

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Following senior roles at Camden Council and Milton Keynes Council, where she was director of children’s services, Gail joined the London Borough of Brent in 2014.

Gail said: “I have dedicated my career to supporting children and young people and empowering them to succeed. 

"During my time at Brent, I am particularly proud of the significant improvements we have made to the outcomes for children in our care. 

"This progress was recognised by Ofsted who judged Brent’s children’s social care to be good with outstanding features for the first time ever.

"I am also proud of the partnership working with local school leaders to drive up educational standards with 95 per cent of local state schools now judged to be good or outstanding and consistently strong exam results." 

Gail is set to leave Brent in the autumn with a successor due to be in place later in the year.

Brent councillor Ketan Sheth, chairman of community and wellbeing scrutiny committee, said: "Gail has regularly attended my committee and one of the things I have always liked about her is how she empowers children and young people in everything that she does. 

"She will be much missed in Brent and beyond – myself included."