Birmingham school row: 'We must teach LGBT relationships'

Written by on June 26, 2019

The head teacher of a school at the centre of a row over educating children about diverse relationships has called for more government support.

Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson praised new guidance on relationships teaching from the Department for Education but called for stronger enforcement.

Schools “must” teach LGBT relationships as equal, she said.

Birmingham’s Anderton Park School has faced months of protests about its relationships education.

Protests have been held outside the school by parents and others arguing children are too young to learn about diverse families through storybooks.

Following a debate over the matter in Parliament on Tuesday, Education Secretary Damian Hinds said he “strongly encouraged” primary schools to teach pupils about LGBT relationships, as set out in new government guidance.

“‘Strongly encourages’ isn’t the same as ‘must’,” Mrs Hewitt-Clarkson said.

Labour MP Roger Godsiff – whose Hall Green constituency covers the school and who was given a warning by Labour’s chief whip on 14 June not to repeat his support for the protesters – said parents protesting against teachings about diverse relationships “have done nothing wrong”.

His comments sparked a backlash from Birmingham Labour, which sought to distance itself from the MP.

The group criticised Mr Godsiff’s position as “an opposition to combating homophobia” and said there was a “moral imperative” for LGBT inclusive education.

Mr Godsiff declined to clarify his comments when approached.

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