THE government has refused to step in over LGBT protests outside Birmingham schools saying it was a matter for individual head teachers.
Angry parents have been protesting over LGBT equality lessons outside two Birmingham schools – Parkfield Community School and Anderton Park Primary – saying the lessons went against their religious faith.
Speaking at an emergency debate on the issue on Tuesday (16), Schools minister Nick Gibb told the House of Commons: “This always has been and must remain a matter for head teachers and the school to decide what is appropriate for their pupils.”
Meanwhile, the head of a trust that runs Parkfield Community School has hit out at the Department of Education over its lack of clarity on LGBT teaching.
“What we would really want from the DfE is that the new RSE [relationships and sex education] guidance coming out is absolutely black-and-white clarity that ‘this needs to be taught in schools and this doesn’t need to be taught in schools’. I think it’s as simple as that,” Pinky Jain, chair of trustees at Excelsior Multi-Academy Trust, told Tes.
“We expect all schools to cover not just relationship education but aspects of LGBT relationships. The children should be aware that these different kinds of families are there. That’s it.”
Erdington MP Jack Dromey also slammed the government for putting the onus on the school to decide the content and appropriateness around LGBT.
Dromey said: “We will always respect religious and cultural values and difference, but there are fundamental values of human rights and we must never retreat back down a path to a painful past where the love of two men for one another, or two women for one another, was demonised.
He warned: “By using the words ‘it’s for the school to decide’, the Government will be exposing dozens, or even hundreds, of schools to the same kind of shameful treatment we have seen here in recent weeks.”
Labour’s shadow minister for education, Angela Rayner, has urged the minister and education department to “understand they have the absolute will of this House to go further and support the schools.”