School Should Resume LGBT Lessons Claims Former Ofsted Head

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The former head of Ofsted has has said that lessons about LGBT rights should be resumed at a Birmingham primary school, despite protests by parents.

Parents of pupils at Parkfield community school in Saltley have staged weekly protests over the lessons, which they claim promote gay and transgender lifestyles. Earlier this month, hundreds of mainly Muslim children, aged between four and 11, were withdrawn from the school for the day.

The school announced that the ‘No Outsiders’ lessons, which teach tolerance of diverse groups, including those of different races, genders and sexual orientation, would not be taught ‘until a resolution has been reached’.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Sir Michael Wilshaw—who was head of Ofsted until 2016—said: ‘Conservative religious people [can] uphold their views …—sincerely held views—but also they’ve got to understand that they are living in this country, in a pluralistic society with liberal values, that strongly believes that people should be treated fairly and equally.’

Asked if he thought the lessons should be reinstated, he said: ‘Absolutely they should reinstate them.’ Wilshaw said: ‘There have been problems in Birmingham for a very long time and it’s really important that there is strong political backing in Birmingham for this issue, from both the local authority, local MPs and also the Department for Education, to make absolutely clear that they will not tolerate this sort of behaviour.’

On Tuesday Ofsted cleared the school of any wrongdoing, praising Parkfield’s record on promoting ‘tolerance, acceptance and mutual respect’ and confirming its Ofsted rating of ‘outstanding’.

A rally due to be held outside the school on Monday morning in support of ‘a LGBTQ-inclusive education’ was postponed, with the organiser, Sam Wise, saying he had decided to allow the discussions between the school and parents to continue without distraction. ‘The voices of hate and bigotry won’t go unchallenged. So demonstrations would be held to counter such activity if the need arises,’ he said.

‘However there cannot be any pandering to demands to halt lessons much longer, or remove No Outsiders completely. Equality is for all and LGBTQ-inclusive education is a matter of life and death. We cannot have another generation of LGBTQ youth feeling that they do not belong or do not matter.’

 

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