Birmingham parents postpone school protest after LGBT lessons are stopped

Muslim parents protesting outside Parkfield Community School in Saltley, Birmingham.

Parents at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham have postponed weekly protests outside the primary school over the promotion of homosexuality after they were assured that the controversial “No Outsiders” programme would no longer be taught until a resolution to the dispute is reached.

Over the past month hundreds of parents and children have protested outside the school gates over what they see as the school’s promotion of LGBT lifestyles to children as young as five in the Muslim-majority school. Parents have also withdrawn their children from school over the dispute and what they call the school’s “intransigent attitude” to their concerns.

But this morning the Parkfield Parents Group said they had had a positive meeting with the Department of Education.

In a statement the group said: “We made our position clear, that the No Outsiders programme cannot continue to be taught at Parkfield School and that a new programme needs be negotiated, with which parents are happy and meets the legal requirements of the Equality Act 2010.

Assistant headteacher Andrew Moffat who heads the ‘No Outsiders’ programme with pupils at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham. [Photograph: David Sillitoe/The Guardian]
“The school have agreed that ‘Until a resolution has been reached, No Outsiders lessons will not be taught at Parkfield.’

“In view of this development, we have decided to postpone the protest for Thursday 14th March 2019. We will await further developments early next week when we expect detailed proposals to be tabled. We will then review our actions with respect to protests and schoolwide withdrawal of children.

“We have advised and notified parents that the protest scheduled for Thursday 14th March 2019 is not taking place and that we are keeping future protests under review in view of developments.

“We welcome these developments and reiterate that the school needs to work with parents in a spirit of partnership and cooperation and not against them in educating their children.”

Meanwhile, the school has issued its own statement confirming the decision to stop the No Outsiders programme which features gay, lesbian and bisexual characters.

“Nothing is more important than ensuring our children’s education continues uninterrupted,” the statement read.

“Yesterday, both parents and the trust held constructive discussions with the Regional Schools Commissioner, and as a result of these discussions we are eager to continue to work  together with parents, over the coming days and weeks to find a solution that will support the children in our school to continue their education in a harmonious environment.

“Until a resolution has been reached , No Outsiders lessons will not be taught at Parkfield  and we hope that children will not be removed from school to take part in protests.”

Parkfield Primary School has always maintained that it is just teaching age-appropriate material that is suitable for children growing up in a society where different lifestyles are the norm. They have been backed by education watchdog Ofsted.

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