A primary school has agreed to stop its lessons on LGBT rights and homophobia until a resolution has been reached with protesting parents – just days after getting Ofsted’s backing.
Parkfield Community School has received support from Ofsted and education secretary Damian Hinds about the teaching of its ‘No Outsiders’ programme, which teaches pupils about LGBT relationships and other issues.
The Birmingham primary school has faced huge protests from parents and the wider community over the age-appropriateness of the lessons. But Ofsted inspectors this week said there was “no evidence” that the education and equalities curriculum “focuses disproportionately on lesbian, gay and bisexual issues and that this work is not taught in an age-appropriate manner.”
However, a spokesperson for the school has now confirmed that the lessons, which were due to continue after Easter, will not take place until a resolution can be reached and urged parents not to remove their children from school.
A large protest that was scheduled at the school today has been cancelled as a result.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Parkfield said parents and the Excelsior Multi-Academy Trust had held “constructive discussions” with the regional schools commissioner and the school was keen 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.”
The Parkfield Parents Community Group said in a statement that its representatives had a “positive meeting” with the Department for Education to discuss their “serious concerns” about the programme.
“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,” the statement said.
“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.”
The protests at Parkfield has stoked fears of similar backlash against schools when new relationships and sex education guidance comes into force next year.
The guidance states that the government “expects” schools to teach about LGBT relationships, but the timing of such teaching is to be left up to headteachers.