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Birmingham council appoints mediator to resolve LGBT teaching dispute

Protests outside a school in Birmingham (Pic credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Protests outside a school in Birmingham (Pic credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

A FORMER prosecutor has been appointed by the Birmingham council to mediate over LGBT relationships education.

Nazir Afzal, a former chief prosecutor for the north west of England and Crown Prosecution Lead on child sexual abuse, has been asked to help resolve the dispute over No Outsiders lessons, which parents claim promotes “LGBT ways of life.”

The No Outsiders lessons have been suspended at a number of schools in Birmingham, including Parkfield community school and another four schools run by the Leigh Trust, following widespread protests.

Afzal took to Twitter to confirm he had spoken to parents of children at the Birmingham schools.

He tweeted: “I can confirm that the city council and parents have asked me to mediate in this matter. I don’t want payment. I don’t propose to give a running commentary. I would prefer if nobody did so that we can try and make progress for the children at the heart of this.”

Last month, Afzal said in an interview that children “don’t become gay because they learn about the fact there are gay people.” At the time he said it was “scandalous” that schools suspended LGBT lessons due to pressure from parents.

Speaking to Schools Week, he said failure to understand sex and relationships could potentially lead to children being exploited by grooming gangs.

He said: “Today I’ve been talking about how British Pakistani men are disproportionally involved in some of the street grooming.

“Part of that is because they didn’t … have relationship education when they were growing up. Our families, sadly, are averse to allowing their children to understand relationship education. And relationship education is a real way of protecting them in future.”