All children have a right to a good education – and that includes learning about relationships, and about other people.
In Birmingham in 2019, protests from a small number of religious parents grew, spread across the country, and before long there was a united front of conservative religious groups of all hues lining up to oppose ‘No Outsiders’ – designed to teach the Equality Act to primary school children – and other programs like it. The BBC's Newsnight discovered that letters opposing the lessons have been sent to schools in Bradford, Bristol, Croydon, Ealing, Manchester, Northampton, and Nottingham, while parents have been leafleted in London also.
Hundreds of parents have withdrawn their children from school, using the old homophobic canard that their children are ‘too young’ to be taught about LGBT issues. In reality, many of these protesters simply oppose the idea that it is ‘okay to be gay’.
Andrew Moffat, Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, and Dr Ruth Wareham all have personal experience and in-depth knowledge of the situation in Birmingham, and will together deliver The Blackham Lecture 2019.
|Andrew Moffat is Assistant Head at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham, and the creator of the No Outsiders program, which teaches children about the variety and diversity of different people and families. In 2019 he was a finalist for the Global Teacher Prize, an annual award to a teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.|
|Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson is Headteacher at Anderton Park Primary School in Birmingham. Following months of protests directly outside the school, the High Court upheld an injunction banning protests in an exclusion zone around the school.|
|Dr Ruth Wareham is Humanists UK’s Education Campaigns Manager. She studied religious schools for over a decade. Immediately prior to joining Humanists UK she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the ‘Faith Schooling: Principles and Policies’ project based in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. Before that Ruth earned her PhD studying religious schools, and before that she was a classroom teacher. She lives in Birmingham.|
Birmingham, B4 7ET