Birmingham school suspends LGBTQ lessons after protests from parents

“Nothing is more important than ensuring our children’s education continues uninterrupted.”

Last week, it was reported that the future of LGBTQ-inclusive lessons at a school in Birmingham, UK, had been called into question following outcry from parents.

No Outsides – developed by Andrew Moffat, 2017 MBE recipient for services to equality and diversity in education – is a program of lessons that covers topics such as gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, disability and age.

For the past few weeks, parents have been complaining to Parkfield Community School, leading the school to make a plea to parents to stop as it was “upsetting and disruptive” for the children.

The disagreement culminated in around 600 students being pulled from the school for the day.

Fatima Shah, a parent, spoke out to say: “We are not a bunch of homophobic mothers, we just feel that some of these lessons are inappropriate. Some of the themes being discussed are very adult and complex and the children are getting confused.”

Now, Parkfield have suspended the LGBTQ lessons until further notice until they can come up with a resolution.

“We are eager to continue to work together with parents, over the coming days and weeks to find a solution that will support the children in our school to continue their education in a harmonious environment,” they said on their website.

“Until a resolution has been reached, No Outsiders lessons will not be taught at Parkfield and we hope that children will not be removed from school to take part in protests.

“Nothing is more important than ensuring our children’s education continues uninterrupted.”

Education Secretary Damian Hinds backed the school last week, telling Schools Work: “I’ve always been clear that I support headteachers to make decisions and we believe in school autonomy, that school leaders are best-placed to make decisions.

He added: “Of course, it’s also right to consult with parents. That is just good practice anyway, and in the new guidance that’s quite clear about the need to consult with parents, but yes I do back headteachers.”

Amanda Spielman also supported the move, saying: “It’s making sure they know just enough to know that some people prefer not to get married to somebody of the opposite sex, and sometimes there are families that have two mummies or two daddies.”

“It’s about making sure that children who do happen to realise that they themselves may not fit a conventional pattern know that they’re not bad [and] they’re not ill.”

Related: Ofsted chief says schools should teach children about same-sex couples.

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