Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham LGBT lessons: MP 'has not read the books'

Roger Godsiff on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme
Image caption Roger Godsiff admitted he had not read the books he said were not "age-appropriate"

A Labour MP who criticised LGBT lessons in primary schools as not "age-appropriate" admitted he has not read the teaching materials.

Parents have been protesting outside Anderton Park Primary school, which is in Roger Godsiff's Birmingham Hall Green constituency, for seven weeks.

They say the lessons contradict Islam.

The school's head teacher, Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, tweeted a note from pupils saying the protests were making them "unhappy".

Ms Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson said two pupils wrote the note which said protestors were being "rude" and disturbing their learning.

She said, on the whole, children were "fed up" with the protest.

"They are amazing, robust little human beings, they love coming to school and relish in knowledge and learning and books and everything school should be," she added.

"But some of them are scared because the protests have been happening at the end of every day, so if they walk past that way they have to listen to people screaming down a megaphone."

Image caption Andrew Moffat pioneered the No Outsiders programme to educate about different relationships

Mr Godsiff said on Tuesday he did not feel four or five-year-olds "could comfortably handle" discussions about sexuality.

One of his constituents, comedian Joe Lycett, wrote to him to say LGBT people were being treated as "second class citizens".

Speaking on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme, the MP said "a number of parents" would agree primary school was "too young" to teach children about LGBT relationships.

"I have a three-year-old grandson and if he was hit with the nine characteristics [of the Equality Act] being put in front to him I think he would wonder what's going on," he said.

He then admitted that he had not read the books included in the teaching material.

Also appearing on the show, Amir Ahmed - who co-ordinated protests outside other schools in Birmingham - criticised Andrew Moffat, who created the No Outsiders teaching scheme, as "disingenuous" and "focused on LGBT content" rather than "teaching equality".

When questioned, he told Victoria Derbyshire he believed it was "morally not acceptable" to be gay.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Shakeel Afsar got involved in protests when his nephew brought home a book about a boy wanting to dress as a girl

Lead protestor Shakeel Afsar, speaking on ITV's This Morning, said the "religious, moral and family values" of parents were being "infringed".

Mr Afsar, who does not have children at Anderton Park, said the school was "over-promoting one narrative" and criticised Ms Hewitt-Clarkson for a "lack of responsibility".

He said the issue arose from the head not "consulting people who hold their religious faith very close to their hearts and to make them sensitively aware of what's going on".

Ms Hewitt-Clarkson said the protests have been "aggressive" and that she has been repeatedly threatened.

Mr Afsar has planned a further demonstration outside the school on Friday.

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