LGBT teaching row

Some youngsters 'could possibly be taught' LGBT lessons

Joanne Writtle

BBC Midlands Today

A man who's led protests against the teaching of LGBT relationships at a school in Birmingham, has said it could be appropriate to teach older primary school pupils about same-sex relationships.

Protesters
PA Media

Shakeel Afsar has been on the stand at Birmingham High Court, where the city council is seeking to make an interim injunction banning protests immediately outside Anderton Park School permanent.

Some parents and activists have been leading protests at the Balsall Heath school as they say the teachings clash with their "religious beliefs and family values".

Mr Afsar, who does not have a child at the school, was asked how he felt about children being told some youngsters have two mums or two dads.

He said: "If it was my child I would say that in the final years of primary school it could possibly be taught to children, but not infringe on their morals, but give them an insight into the society that exists.”

However, he described picture book Princess Boy, about a boy who dressed up as a princess, as "not morally acceptable" to many of the Muslim parents at the school.

The hearing continues.

School staff 'abused on social media'

Joanne Writtle

BBC Midlands Today

Anderton Park staff members have been abused on social media and were filmed by a protester when they were walking around outside school, making them feel intimidated, the deputy head teacher said.

Claire Evans was appearing on the stand at Birmingham High Court, where the city council is seeking to make an interim injunction banning protests immediately outside the school permanent.

Anderton Park protest
BBC

The school, in Balsall Heath, has been at the centre of a campaign against teaching about LGBT relationships, led by some parents and activists who say it is in conflict with their "religious beliefs and family values".

Educational psychologist from Birmingham City Council, Amanda Daniels, told the court staff felt their “previously happy, contented community had been disrupted”.

The hearing continues.

LGBT school row hearing like 'David and Goliath'

A man named on an injunction preventing protests outside the school gates at Anderton Park School, Birmingham claimed they had been forced to take the action after the school failed to engage with them.

Shakheel Afsar
BBC

An injunction has been granted against protests outside the school gates about their teaching of same sex relationships.

Birmingham City Council is making an application for it to be made permanent.

Shakeel Afsar said before the protests "for several weeks we tried to communicate with the school".

"We have very limited resources and we are fighting an establishment with endless resources.

"This is David and Goliath here."

Council gives evidence in LGBT school row hearing

Joanne Writtle

BBC Midlands Today

A judge is hearing evidence from protesters who are challenging a ban on demonstrations outside a school in Birmingham.

Protesters
BBC

An injunction's in place preventing protests outside the school gates at Anderton Park School against teaching about same sex relationships.

Protesters
BBC

The protesters claim the injunction is illegal and they were forced to gather outside the school "as there was no other choice".

Giving evidence for the city council Jonathan Manning QC said despite the ban there had been successful attempts to disturb teaching at the school by creating noise - meaning nursery children were unable to use the playground.

He also said that protesters had continued to make untrue allegations about what the school was teaching in "inflammatory" posts on social media.

Speaking outside the court one protester named on the injunction, Shakeel Afsar, said he was "hoping for justice".

He claimed they'd been forced to protest after being denied the chance to speak to the school about the issue.

The school's head teacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson is expected to give evidence this afternoon.

LGBT teaching row injunction hearing

A hearing into the legality of an injunction barring parents from protesting outside a school in Birmingham will begin later.

Demonstrators
PA Media

Hundreds of mainly Muslim campaigners demonstrated against the teaching of LGBT relationships outside Anderton Park Primary School for months earlier this year.

A High Court injunction against the protests was quashed in June, but a temporary order was sought by Birmingham City Council to prevent demonstrations outside the school gates until this hearing.

Response to hateful extremism 'inadequate'

The UK needs a "complete overhaul" of how it deals with hateful extremism, a government adivisor has said.

It follows, in part, evidence gathered by the Commission for Countering Extremism in the wake of protests outside schools in Birmingham against relationships teaching.

Protest
PA Media

Birmingham's Anderton Park School has faced months of protests about its No Outsiders lessons - sparking similar campaigns at some other schools in the city and across the UK.

When speaking to people in Birmingham, the commission said it was told "the threat of Islamist agitation in the area was constant and had recently intensified".

The commission's said it had also seen a "deeply hate-filled" presentation from one Islamist group, comparing LGBT people to animals and paedophiles, circulated to prepare protesters to counter "arguments that legitimise LGBT".

The commission also gathered examples elsewhere in the UK of far right organisations using rallies to spread "anti-Muslim agenda" and "deliberately distort the truth" to incite "discriminatory and hateful attitudes".

The government’s independent advisor on extremism Sara Khan said unlike our response to terrorism, the UK's approach to other forms of extremism was "inadequate and unfocused, leaving victims unrecognised and those countering it unsupported".

She has called for a new approach and a new taskforce, led by the home secretary.