Parents protest over Birmingham school's LGBT equality teaching

Mariam Ahmed
Image caption,
Mariam Ahmed has organised a petition opposed to the "No Outsiders" programme

Primary school parents have been protesting over their children being taught about LGBT rights and homophobia.

Some parents at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham claim the teachings contradict the Islamic faith.

Mariam Ahmed, whose daughter attends the school, has organised a petition against the "No Outsiders" project.

The school said it aimed to educate children so they were able to accept differences in society.

Ms Ahmed said: "Sorry at this age it's totally wrong. Children at this age don't even know if they are coming or going, let alone knowing what sexual orientation they will become."

Asma and Mohammed Jdaitawi added: "It's good to teach children about respect and values but the sexual orientation aspect is against our principles."

Image source, Google
Image caption,
One mother said it was "totally wrong" for children aged four to be involved in the project

The project was created and piloted at the school in 2014 by assistant head teacher Andrew Moffat, who was awarded an MBE for services to equality and diversity in education in 2017.

According to Mr Moffat's website, the project aims to:

  • Teach children about the Equality Act 2010 and British values
  • Teach them to be proud of who they are while recognising and celebrating difference and diversity
  • Prepare children for a life in modern Britain.

"It's about teaching young children that we are different in reception and year one, that's as far as this work goes. We're just talking about being different and being friends," he said.

Councillor Tristan Chatfield, cabinet member for social inclusion, said the school's work was being "misunderstood" by some parents.

In a statement, the school said it had a duty to protect pupils from harm, including homophobic or transgender bullying and that the project "raises awareness of these differences so that children are able to tolerate and accept differences in our society".

Mr Moffat had met up with concerned parents until some became "personal and aggressive", the school added.

Council standards probe

A city councillor who said he supported parents' views has been referred to the authority's standards committee, it has emerged.

Councillor Mohammed Idrees has been formally reported for allegedly breaching the code of conduct for endorsing "homophobic views".

Mr Idrees apologised on Monday, admitting he "overstepped the mark".

The committee will review the complaint and take a decision as to whether it warrants formal investigation.