LGBT+ lessons: Primary school reintroduces equality programme despite parent protests

‘Our ethos of everyone being welcome remains’

Eleanor Busby
Education Correspondent
Friday 26 July 2019 12:14 BST
Birmingham teacher Andrew Moffat shortlisted for Global Teacher Prize

A primary school that faced weekly protests from parents over LGBT+ lessons is to bring back the suspended equality programme.

The No Outsiders programme, which uses story books to teach about same-sex couples, is being relaunched at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham after months of consultation.

It was suspended in March following a series of demonstrations by parents who claimed that their children were too young to learn about same-sex relationships.

The row at the school gates sparked more protests at the nearby Anderton Park primary school and led to a political debate over what age was appropriate to teach children about LGBT+ couples.

An amended version of the programme, called No Outsiders for a Faith Community, has been designed to respect parental concerns, Parkfield Community School said.

The school, where most pupils are Muslim, said the relaunch of the programme followed five months of consultation with parents, community representatives and the Department for Education.

Lessons will reference race, religion, age, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation and disability.

A statement from the school said: “As a result of the consultation, No Outsiders for a Faith Community has been especially designed for Parkfield Community School, acknowledging and respecting the concerns and sensitivity expressed by some parents in the present school community.”

It added: “We are sharing the resources with our parents before September through year group sessions and how the programme will be structured for each year group. Our school ethos of equality and everyone being welcome remains a key aspect of our school.”

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The Parkfield Parents’ Community Group, which organised the protests, told the BBC that it had voted against the newly developed programme, as they felt it was still biased towards LGBT+ issues.

The No Outsiders diversity programme is currently taught at schools across the country.

It was introduced four years ago by Parkfield’s assistant headteacher, Andrew Moffat, who was a top 10 finalist for one of the world’s top teaching awards earlier this year.

Mr Moffat, who is gay, previously told The Independent that he believed his openness about his sexuality had triggered the opposition. He has been threatened and targeted amid the protests.

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