Royal Central School of Speech and Drama’s new interim co-principals have vowed to address the “institutional, systemic and overt racism” at the school.
It comes as Gavin Henderson announced he has brought his retirement forward by three months, citing personal reasons.
He has been replaced on an interim basis by deputy principal Debbie Scully and dean of school Ross Brown.
In an email seen by The Stage, the interim principals offered their “personal apology for Central’s institutional, systemic and overt racism, and for any way in which we have contributed to this in the past through our roles”.
“Starting now, we personally commit to bringing about lasting and wide-ranging change,” Scully and Brown said, adding: “We have no way to fully understand the pain that many people will have gone through both over the last week and in the past.
“We are committed now to forging a transparent course of action.”
The pair said they were calling an all staff meeting immediately today [June 8].
Henderson had been due to retire in August, but has moved it forward for personal reasons.
He said: “I am due to retire from Central in several months’ time. As I have taken no annual leave this year I think it sensible that I should step down from the general function of being principal with immediate effect.”
He added: “At present I am unable to give the role my undivided attention and there are many pressing issues – not least in dealing with the consequences of Covid-19. It is agreed that Debbie and Ross will take over the day-to-day duties of the principal, as of today, pending the appointment of my successor.”