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‘Alarming’: Birmingham trust with five schools also suspends LGBT lessons

A Birmingham trust which runs five schools has said it will stop teaching lessons about LGBT acceptance to students following mounting pressure by parents, according to a new BBC report released today.

The BBC exclusive report states that Leigh Trust, which runs five schools, said it was halting the lessons until an agreement with parents is reached, or at least after Ramadan in May. Leigh Trust teaches the ‘No Outsiders programme’ at the Leigh Primary School, Alston Primary School, Marlborough Junior School, Marlborough Infants School, and Wyndcliff Primary School.

One of the campaigners against the LGBT lessons is quoted saying,Morally we do not accept homosexuality as a valid sexual relationship to have.’ The BBC report says campaigners claim the classes are inappropriate for young children and the schools’ LGBT message contradicts Islam.

Humanists UK, which campaigns for inclusive relationships and sex education (RSE) in schools, including promoting tolerance and respect for LGBT people as part of RSE, has described today’s reported developments as an ‘extremely alarming trend’ and urged the Department for Education to intervene to ensure the classes are reinstated.

The reported move by Leigh Trust comes after a separate Birmingham school earlier this month announced it was suspending its ‘No Outsiders’ programme’ until consultation with parents was complete. Parents at Parkfield School protested over the programme, deemed by Ofsted as age-appropriate, which teaches students that ‘families look different’ and it also aims to tackle homophobia in schools.

Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson said: ‘It is very alarming to hear reports that a trust responsible for five more schools has also decided to stop teaching LGBT lessons due to protests from parents who believe it is against their religious beliefs.

‘Schools have an important role to educate students about all types of relationships and that includes teaching respect and tolerance for LGBT people. They have a duty to protect the wellbeing of all of their students including LGBT students who are at higher risk of bullying without such education. We urge the Department for Education to take a strong stand and support these schools in reinstating LGBT lessons back into the classrooms.’

Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman has consistently said that students must learn about same-sex relationships in schools regardless of religious beliefs.

Earlier this month the UK Government announced its compulsory RSE curriculum that must be taught in all English schools but the new law and guidance do not come into force until September 2019.

NOTES:

For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Press Manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at casey@humanism.org.uk or phone 020 7324 3078.

Read our previous news item on the Parkfield School here: https://humanism.org.uk/2019/03/04/schools-move-to-stop-lgbt-lessons-after-religious-protests-is-deeply-worrying-says-humanists-uk/

For more information on our work on relationships and sex education, visit https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/schools-and-education/school-curriculum/pshe-and-sex-and-relationships-education/

At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.

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