Parkfield Community School LGBT protests: School denies 'U-turn'

image captionAssistant head teacher Andrew Moffat created the No Outsiders programme

A school which has suspended lessons about LGBT rights and homophobia following protests from parents has denied the move is a U-turn.

Parkfield Community School in Alum Rock, Birmingham, has seen protests over its No Outsiders project.

It said it was always the plan for the classes to stop at half-term.

But, it added, there is a need for discussions between teachers and parents about the curriculum and how it should be delivered in the future.

A spokesperson for the school - which has about 740 pupils aged three to 11 - told the BBC the No Outsiders programme is still an integral part of its ethos.

They said it was always in the curriculum plan to use the remainder of the term for religious education.

image captionAbout 100 people gathered outside the school gates for a demonstration in February

The project was developed by assistant head Andrew Moffat in 2014, with the aim to educate children to accept differences in society.

As well as LGBT issues, it teaches about race, religion, gender identity, age and disabilities.

But it has faced criticism from some Muslim parents for teaching children about same-sex couples.

Parents said the classes are not appropriate for young children and have staged protests claiming hundreds of pupils were kept home from lessons on Friday.

Liam Byrne, MP for Hodge Hill, who was present at a recent meeting between the school and parents, said he has asked the Secretary of State to meet with families.

media caption"Hundreds" of pupils skip Birmingham school in LGBT row

The school said it will hold talks with concerned parents over the remainder of the school term about the teaching of The Equality Act 2010.

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In a letter detailing plans, it encouraged parents to ask their children what No Outsiders is about, saying "the children are very clear there is no focus on one aspect of equality, rather No Outsiders teaches that everyone is welcome".

It also said, in light of new government legislation to make relationships education compulsory in primary schools from September 2020, it will be consulting with parents to develop its policy and curriculum on the subject.

image captionParents have held a number of protests over their concerns about the No Outsiders programme

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