LGBT+ protests: Demonstrations spread to primary school in Nottingham

Activists against inclusive lessons include man banned from Birmingham gathering and another who has no children at the school

Eleanor Busby
Education Correspondent
Tuesday 23 July 2019 14:34 BST
Demonstrators at Anderton Park Primary in Birmingham
Demonstrators at Anderton Park Primary in Birmingham (PA)

Protests against LGBT+ lessons and sex education have spread to a primary school in Nottingham.

One of the men at the demonstration near Fernwood Primary School was Amir Ahmed, who has been banned from protesting against LGBT+ equality outside a Birmingham primary school.

The protests, which have been widely condemned, come after months of demonstrations from parents and campaigners outside Parkfield Community School and Anderton Park School in Birmingham over diversity lessons.

Mr Ahmed is not allowed to protest outside Anderton Park after a High Court injunction banned him and two others from demonstrating.

A full trial concerning the issues around the injunction at Anderton Park is due to take place before the end of the month.

Speaking after the protest in Nottingham on Monday, Mr Ahmed said: "It's a different school, community and city, but the issues are the same.

“Government policy is such it is foisting an agenda on young children for parents who run a traditional conservative family. It runs contrary to their values."

But parents and campaigners in a nearby, larger counter-protest – some holding rainbow flags – condemned the demonstration at the Nottingham primary school as "bigoted and homophobic".

Labour MP Lilian Greenwood, whose constituency includes the school, said she would meet any concerned parents, but had not heard "from a single Fernwood parent" who backed the protests.

In a series of tweets, Ms Greenwood said she supported counter-protesters and added that she was "proud" of those promoting "inclusion and respect".

Nottingham City Council also backed the school's leadership, adding it appeared none of the protesters had any direct link to Fernwood.

The council has said schools are "duty-bound" to teach relationships and sex education (RSE) at primary age and teachers were experienced enough to make it age-appropriate.

Another of the protest's organisers, Ayaz Ahmed, who is from Nottingham but has no children at the school, said he got involved after being contacted by parents who wanted to mount a protest.

The father-of-three, who described himself as a "community leader", claimed: "It's not about LGBT+, it's about the sexualisation of children."

David Mellen, Nottingham City Council's leader, said: "In modern Britain, families come in many different shapes and sizes, including same-sex parents, single parents, fostering and adoptive parents.

"It is important that children and young people are given the opportunity to explore a range of family and relationship types in a way that is supportive, inclusive and affirms children's different experiences of family life."

The protests come after public figures and religious activists accused the government of being “half-hearted” in its support for schools attacked for promoting LGBT+ inclusion earlier this month.

Author Philip Pullman and Tory MP Crispin Blunt were among 77 signatories of a letter to the education secretary, shared with The Independent, following months of protests.

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In a separate letter to Ms Greenwood about the new protest in Nottingham, Damian Hinds said he was concerned about the “troubling” events outside two schools in Birmingham.

He said: "I have been very clear that protests outside schools, which can frighten children and intimidate hard-working teachers and parents, are unacceptable."

Mr Hinds added that the government was "working closely" with councils, teaching unions, Ofsted and the police "to understand if there are similar issues emerging in other parts of the country".

Additional reporting by PA

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