Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham school row: 'We must teach LGBT relationships'

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 Protests have been held outside Anderton Park School in Birmingham for months

The head teacher of a school at the centre of a row over educating children about diverse relationships has called for more government support.

Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson praised new guidance on relationships teaching from the Department for Education but called for stronger enforcement.

Schools "must" teach LGBT relationships as equal, she said.

Birmingham's Anderton Park School has faced months of protests about its relationships education.

Image copyright PA Wire
Image caption Anderton Park head teacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson said LGBT relationships "must" be taught as equal

Protests have been held outside the school by parents and others arguing children are too young to learn about diverse families through storybooks.

Following a debate over the matter in Parliament on Tuesday, Education Secretary Damian Hinds said he "strongly encouraged" primary schools to teach pupils about LGBT relationships, as set out in new government guidance.

"'Strongly encourages' isn't the same as 'must'," Mrs Hewitt-Clarkson said.

Image copyright House of Commons
Image caption "Parents were entirely excluded" from consultations on the teaching, MP Roger Godsiff said

Labour MP Roger Godsiff - whose Hall Green constituency covers the school and who was given a warning by Labour's chief whip on 14 June not to repeat his support for the protesters - said parents protesting against teachings about diverse relationships "have done nothing wrong".

His comments sparked a backlash from Birmingham Labour, which sought to distance itself from the MP.

Image caption Birmingham Labour said it would "not allow prejudices of the past to re-emerge"

The group criticised Mr Godsiff's position as "an opposition to combating homophobia" and said there was a "moral imperative" for LGBT inclusive education.

Mr Godsiff declined to clarify his comments when approached.

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