Parent power crosses the pond: Headteacher at London's most expensive day school resigns over CRT

Parent power crosses the pond: Headteacher at London's most expensive day school resigns over CRT
AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte

Parents with children in the American School in London sound a lot like parents at home. Slowly but surely, their complaints about the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) have been answered. The headteacher resigned from her position.


Robin Appleby resigned as headteacher after serving in the appointed position for less than five years. The American School in London is the most expensive day school in London, with tuition at £32,650-a-year. The students are the children of diplomats and other professionals, including Hollywood actress Salma Hayek. The school is governed by a Board of Trustees but the Head of School is responsible for the day-to-day administration, programming, and policies. Robin Appleby is listed as Head of School on the school’s website. She’s an American with twenty years of experience in both American and international schools. Her resume is on the welcome page of the website.

Robin Appleby has spent more than 20 years working in independent American and international schools in the US, Europe and the Middle East. She is a passionate promoter of global citizenship and intercultural understanding. Robin believes that strong school-community partnerships enhance experiential learning for students and advance understanding of diversity in all its forms.

Before joining ASL, she served as director of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and superintendent of Dubai American Academy. Her international career began at The American School of The Hague, where she was high school principal. Earlier leadership roles include upper school director at Hathaway Brown School in Ohio, and senior dean and teacher of English at the Nichols School in New York.

Robin holds a BA in English literature from Dartmouth College, an MA from SUNY at Buffalo, and a MS in organization development and analysis from Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management. She sits on the Board of Trustees of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), and served as a trustee of the Council of International Schools (CIS) from 2012 to 2016.


“A passionate promoter of global citizenship,” tells us she’s a liberal and it’s not a stretch to assume she approves of CRT lessons in the school. Five months ago, parents delivered a 12-page letter detailing their complaints about the school’s decision to teach CRT. The group of parents said their children were being ‘indoctrinated’ in the “controversial and divisive ideology of critical race theory.” That sounds familiar.

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.

That is something most of us don’t understand – why do CRT believers think it’s a good idea to segregate student clubs and spaces according to race? Isn’t that a throwback to the days of Jim Crow and “whites only” signs, only in this case it’s blacks-only or Latino-only? It makes no sense. Teaching children that white people are inherently racist or sexist because of the color of their skin simply replaces discrimination against people of color for discrimination against. CRT is just a vehicle for grievance.


The parents were informed about the addition of CRT, though it was not specifically labeled as such, after the months of protests that began with the death of George Floyd. The Summer of Love sparked a whole industry around CRT. Parents were awakened after their children began bringing home school work showing what is being taught. In this case, it wasn’t just the children who were being re-programmed, the parents were also being instructed on how to raise their children, too.

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’.

You can see why parents finally spoke up. So, after five months, Ms. Appleby is on her way out. As of January 1, 2022, someone else will be calling the shots. American parents don’t want to be told how to raise their children, even those educating their children overseas.


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 parents question if she truly resigned on her own or if she was pushed to do so. They also note that while it is good that she’ll be leaving, there are other administrators and teachers who support and implement CRT in their classrooms.

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.’

Education is the new civil right and that has been shown through recent elections. Parents are participating in the education of their children with renewed vigor and that’s a good thing. That’s the silver lining in the middle of the propaganda being forced on young minds. It’s even crossed the pond.


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