Birmingham school stops LGBT+ lessons after protests by parents

Andrew Moffat teaching children.
A primary school in Birmingham has decided to scrap LGBT+ lessons from its roster of classes following outrage by pupils’ parents.

The addition of LGBT+ lessons was in order to tackle homophobia. However, Parkfield community school in Saltly, Birmingham has confirmed that the programme has been abandoned following weekly protests over the lessons.

“Up to the end of this term, we will not be delivering any No Outsiders lessons in our long term year curriculum plan, as this half term has already been blocked for religious education (RE). Equality assemblies will continue as normal and our welcoming No Outsiders ethos will be there for all,” a letter to the parents read.

The Guardian reports that a group of parents of the students attending the school petitioned against the LGBT+ lessons, which they accuse of “confusing children,” and claim are promoting gay and transgender lifestyles.

The group carried out weekly protests that culminated on Friday, 01 March, when about 600 Muslim children (80%t of the pupils), aged between four and 11, were withdrawn from the school for the day, parents said. The school, however, would not confirm the number.

“We have no problem with the Equalities Act, we have no problem with them teaching them British values, but this is not teaching them British values, this is promoting homosexuality, this is confusing children,” parent Fatima Shah told the BBC.

The No Outsides programme was piloted by Andrew Moffat, a teacher and author at the school, who said he has come under threat and been targeted over the conception of the programme.

Moffat, who is openly gay, was awarded an MBE by the Queen back in 2017 for services to education, and is the author of Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools. He is also currently in the running to win the prestigious Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize, and is the only UK finalist shortlisted. 

The Guardian has reported that Moffat resigned from another primary school, also in Birmingham, after a similar dispute with Muslim and Christian parents.

“I’m just teaching children from an early age that there are different families out there and, let’s not forget, that in some schools there are children with two mums, so I see it that they’re not being taught anything,” he said in January upon the programmes launch. All they’re seeing is their family is being accepted. We want all children in Birmingham to know that their family is normal; that their family is accepted and welcomed in schools”.

The school has furthermore said that it will only resume the No Outsiders programme after a consultation with every parent.