Primary school diversity lessons will NOT resume

Primary school diversity lessons which sparked furious protests from parents will NOT resume, despite Ofsted ruling the classes were age-appropriate for the children

  • Parkfield Community School in Birmingham is stopping LGBT diversity lessons 
  • The decision follows weeks of protests from parents outside the primary school 
  • The school says it will now consider new proposals with the protesting parents
  • Ofsted had previously ruled that the No Outsiders lessons were age-appropriate 

Lessons about diversity and LGBT issues at a Birmingham primary school will not be resuming, following weekly protests from furious parents who claimed they weren’t age-appropriate. 

Parkfield Community School said its No Outsiders project will not be taught until ‘a resolution has been reached’, despite Ofsted inspectors previously ruling that the project was appropriate for children. 

The Birmingham school had previously said lessons would continue as normal after the Easter holidays. 

The campaign says that it teaches tolerance of diverse groups, including those of different races, genders and sexual orientation.

It has faced sustained protests from parents, even though Ofsted published a report by inspectors on Tuesday which concluded that the lessons were age-appropriate.

Parents’ anger is aimed at the school’s assistant head Andrew Moffat (pictured), who is behind the ‘No Outsiders’ lessons

Protests have been suspended – for now – after Parkfield Community School decided to stop its diversity lessons

Headteacher David Williams had called the report ‘great news’ for the school.

Inspectors said ‘a very small, but vocal, minority of parents are not clear about the school’s vision, policies and practice’, and that teachers should work on ‘further engagement’ with mothers and fathers.

Talks between parents, education chiefs and the academy trust which runs Parkfield took place later that day, leading to the announcement that the lessons would be suspended.

The school said: ‘Nothing is more important than ensuring our children’s education continues uninterrupted.

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‘Both parents and the trust held constructive discussions with the Regional Schools Commissioner, and, as a result of these discussions, 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.

‘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.’

The No Outsiders programme, which teaches about the Equality Act, was authored by the school’s assistant headteacher, Andrew Moffat.

Parents said teaching about LGBT equality at the school is an exploitation of child innocence

The school started its programme four years ago and says it should welcome people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender

Pupils are taught about the positive values of diversity, tolerance and acceptance, in a broad curriculum encompassing LGBT rights, same-sex relationships, gender identity, race, religion and colour.

But the lessons sparked off weekly protests outside its gates, with mothers and fathers objecting to the teaching of the No Outsiders project.

Parkfield Parents’ Community Group, which has organised protests, said members had a positive meeting with the Department for Education (DfE) to discuss serious concerns with the programme.

Welcoming the suspension, the group called off its protest for this week and said it would keep the option of future rallies ‘under review’.

Some of the parents said they were not against homosexuality, but accused the teacher of promoting ‘personal beliefs’

The group said in a statement: ‘We made our position clear, that the No Outsiders programme cannot continue to be taught at Parkfield School and that a new programme needs be negotiated, with which parents are happy and meets the legal requirements of the Equality Act 2010.

‘The school have agreed that ‘until a resolution has been reached’ No Outsiders lessons will not be taught.

‘In view of this development, we have decided to postpone the protest for Thursday March 14.

‘We will await further developments early next week when we expect detailed proposals to be tabled.

‘We will then review our actions with respect to protests and schoolwide withdrawal of children.

Police were called to the protest outside the primary school in the Saltley area of Birmingham

The school’s children joined the campaign against lessons on LGBT lifestyles at a protest last month

‘We have advised and notified parents that the protest scheduled for Thursday 14th March is not taking place and that we are keeping future protests under review in view of developments.

‘We welcome these developments and reiterate that the school needs to work with parents in a spirit of partnership and co-operation and not against them in educating their children.’

At the school gates on Thursday, a handful of parents who were present were also supportive.

One, who declined to be named, said: ‘Of course we aren’t against equality – the problem was too much emphasis on the LGBT side.

‘The DfE listened to us. We’ll see what happens now.’

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