Up to 600 parents kept their children home from a primary school in Birmingham, UK, on Friday 1 March in protest over a programme of lessons teaching about homosexuality and transsexualism.
Parents complained that the “No Outsiders” programme being trialled at Parkfield Community School, for children aged four to eleven, was “not age appropriate” for children and said that pupils were being “brainwashed”.
The programme was written by the school’s assistant head teacher Andrew Moffat, who is in a homosexual civil partnership. The lessons include material on gender-identity, same-sex couples and sexual orientation.
On Monday 4 March, parents delivered a 350-name petition to the school, with vocal protests continuing all week outside the school.
Mariam Ahmed, mother of a four-year-old pupil attending the school, said, “What they are teaching is not right, they are too young.” She added, “It’s not just because we are Muslims, there are Christians here too.”
Another mother, Fatima Shah, said, “It is not age appropriate … Children are coming home, girls are asking whether it is true they can be boys, boys as young as four asking whether it is true we can be girls. There is no need for it.”
A father, Maqsood Hussain, said, “We have no discrimination against people of transgender or LGBT persuasion, we as a community are very welcoming of these people. But our children and the ages they are actually providing this material [to] is inappropriate.”
Teaching of the “No Outsiders” programme has been temporarily halted at Parkfield as part of a planned break, and will resume in the summer term. The school, which was rated “outstanding” by Ofsted in 2016, is substituting the lessons with Religious Education classes for the time being.
Barnabas Fund launched Your Child. Your Choice. on 4 March and called on its supporters to urgently email the Lords Committee with their concerns and to urge Peers to debate a law that will impose relationships and sex education on children as young as four-years-old and sweep aside parents’ rights to withdraw their children from such lessons.
If the Statutory Instrument currently in progress through parliament is passed into law it will make mandatory a rule that when a child reaches the age of 15, parents will no longer have the right to exclude their child from Sex Education; the children themselves will make the decision.
The law, which comes into effect in September 2020, will also rule that primary school children (aged four to eleven) must be taught a positive view of non-traditional “families”, same-sex relationships and transsexual identities as part of their Relationships Education curriculum.
Parents have no right to exclude children from Relationships Education, only from Sex Education. So, putting these subjects under Relationships Education deprives the parents of their rights to choose whether their child is taught these subjects. Under government guidance for schools, LGBT issues and other Relationships and Sex Education topics may be taught under cross-curricular themes in other lessons without parent’s knowledge.