LGBT schools row: Equality teaching to return to Parkfield School

By Sima Kotecha
Midlands correspondent, BBC News

Andrew Moffat
Image caption,
Andrew Moffat said the No Outsiders project was about community cohesion

A suspended equality programme at the centre of a row about teaching LGBT rights will return at a school.

The No Outsiders programme at Parkfield Community School sparked protests, which spread to Anderton Park Primary School, with parents claiming the teachings were not "age appropriate".

The Birmingham-based school said the new version of the programme had been designed to respect parental concerns.

But a parent group has said it feels it is still "biased" towards LGBT issues.

The amended scheme, called 'No Outsiders for a Faith Community', will be implemented at Parkfield Community School in Alum Rock in September.

The school said the re-launch followed five months of consultation with parents, community representatives and the Department for Education.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Hundreds of parents and children gathered outside Parkfield Community School in protest at the teachings

It said that in the amended resource, lessons referenced race, religion, age, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation and disability.

A spokesperson for the school said: "As a result of the consultation 'No Outsiders for a Faith Community' has been especially designed for Parkfield Community School acknowledging and respecting the concerns and sensitivity expressed by some parents in the present school community."

The resources and programme will also be structured for each year group.

"Our school ethos of equality and everyone being welcome remains a key aspect of our school," the spokesperson added.

However, the Parkfield Parents Group said it had voted against the newly-developed programme.

"This is because it is well known that the original programme and now even the new programme is heavily biased towards LGBTQ, whereas an equality programme doesn't need to be," it said.

Fatima Shah, whose daughter is at Parkfield School, said: "We just haven't been listened to.

"We have said we don't want children in reception to be shown books with same sex relationships. Its confusing for them.

"But the school has said it will do exactly the same as it was doing before but with a slightly different name. How is that taking our views into account?"

The No Outsiders programme is being taught at more than a hundred schools across England.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Parents said they had concerns the teachings were not "age appropriate"

It was designed by Andrew Moffat, the assistant head at Parkfield School, in 2014.

He said its aim was to introduce children to diversity in society and make them accept difference within the world today so that everybody is welcome.

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

Protesters have been banned from its gates by a High Court injunction, with a trial to take place later this month to decide whether they can resume directly outside the school.

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