Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham anti-LGBT lessons leaflet 'inflammatory'

Parents, children and protestors demonstrate against the lessons about gay relationships, which teaches children about LGBT rights at the Anderton Park Primary School, Birmingham. Image copyright PA
Image caption Parents angry about same-sex relationship education protested outside Anderton Park School

Leaflets accusing a school in Birmingham of having a "gay ethos" have been branded "inflammatory" by a parent.

Five schools in the city have stopped teaching about same-sex relationships since protests began in January.

Parents - largely of the Muslim faith - are campaigning against the lessons at Anderton Park School, arguing it goes against their religious beliefs.

Campaign leaflets were handed out outside the school on Thursday.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The leaflet distributed outside the school reads: "We do not believe in homosexuality"

No Outsiders, a programme devised by Andrew Moffat at nearby Parkfield Community School, uses a range of storybooks which show a number of diverse families, including those with same-sex parents.

It is not taught at Anderton Park, however campaigners argue the lessons are "the same".

The leaflet distributed outside Anderton Park states: "It teaches children 'it is OK to be gay... you can be gay and Muslim'."

It goes on to describe the lessons as the "promotion of homosexuality" and proclaims in bold: "We do not believe in homosexuality."

One Anderton parent who wished to remain anonymous said the leaflet "doesn't represent the majority of Muslim parents".

"We don't want our children to be taught about same sex couples but we don't endorse this inflammatory language that is unhelpful and offensive," he said.

Anderton's head teacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson said the school "educates all children to be respectful of everyone else".

"We celebrate diversity," she said, adding the school has "the strength and determination to be wholly inclusive".

Image caption Andrew Moffat said No Outsiders was "simply teaching children about different families"

On Wednesday, Education Secretary Damian Hinds said parents had no right to veto what was taught in schools.

"What is taught, and how, is ultimately a decision for the school," he said.

Khakan Qureshi, an LGBT rights campaigner and gay Muslim, said he was "appalled" by the leaflets.

"These protests and the misinformation shared has now gone beyond the initial concern of age appropriate to blatant homophobia," he said, and called on the city council to take action.

Rozina Hussain, whose daughter attends Anderton, said parents "are not homophobic" but they feel "isolated" and not listened to.

Protests outside Parkfield have been called off during consultations between parents, schools and the Department for Education, but continue daily outside Anderton.

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