THE row over gender equality lessons in primary schools in Birmingham is a repeat of the Trojan Horse scandal, says an expert.
The Trojan Horse scandal refers to an alleged plot to “Islamicise” schools in Birmingham, and according to Dr Karamat Iqbal, community disconnect was the root cause.
Dr Iqbal, an education and diversity consultant who runs Forward Partnership, believes there could be a repeat of the scandal.
Reflecting on the LGBT teaching row, which was initially prompted by the No Outsiders programme at Parkfield Community School, Dr Iqbal said the breakdown of trust between the community and the school was a driving factor.
Angry parents have been protesting over LGBT equality lessons outside two Birmingham schools – Parkfield Community School and Anderton Park Primary – saying the gender equality lessons taught at these schools went against their religious faith.
Unless a proper communication system is established, the row between parents and schools won’t die down, feels Dr Iqbal.
“If people have an opinion and there isn’t a proper system of communicating that, if they don’t feel they are being heard then they will take it elsewhere. It won’t go away.”
He added: “It is about absolute partnership. It’s a partnership between schools and parents of children at the school, but also partnership between the school and the community that’s around them.
“I see schools very much to be not just in a community but of the community and with the community.
“We know partnerships are not easy, you have to work through them, address the difficult issues then you have a relationship of trust and whatever comes up in the future you will be ready.”
Dr Iqbal stressed that schools across the nation should be teaching equality.
He said: ” There’s a danger in thinking this is about No Outsiders. This is about equality and teaching about it and as to what resource you use is detail.
“I don’t think any school should stop teaching about equality. All schools should teach about equality not just in multi-cultural, multi-racial areas like Birmingham but across the country.
“Wherever you are, we are one society, one country and it’s important for children to learn about the diversity in our society.