Ahead of the European Parliamentary Elections taking place on Thursday, six of the West Midlands candidates took part in a panel debate at the University of BirminghamWritten by Tom Leaman on 22nd May 2019
Children Should Learn About Same-Sex Couples
The Chief Inspector of Ofsted has responded to protests about children being taught about homosexuality, reports Christina Manns
Amanda Spielman, Chief Inspector of Ofsted, has recently stated that all children must learn about same-sex couples as part of sex education in the school curriculum.
“It is important that children know there are families that have two mummies or two daddies
Spielman has said that it is important that children know ‘there are families that have two mummies or two daddies.’
These comments emerged in light of the recent protests outside Parkfield Community School in Birmingham, as hundreds of Muslim and Christian parents claimed that teaching their children about homosexuality and gender identity contradicted their faith.
Protesting parents criticised assistant headteacher Andrew Moffat, who started these lessons and is gay himself, by claiming that he is ‘promoting personal beliefs’ about the normality and acceptability of homosexuality, which they disagree with.
Last Friday, The Guardian reported that around 600 children aged between four and 11 were withdrawn from school for the day. The following Monday, the school published a letter that said they would be stopping all LGBT lessons as part of their No Outsiders programme.
However, the head of Ofsted has condemned these protests, saying that ‘the essence of democracy is that we don’t all get our way’ and that children need to understand differences in society.
As well as criticising the inclusion of same-sex couples in the school’s ‘No Outsiders’ programme on the basis of religion, some parents have also expressed concern that the topic is too mature for children.
“It feels like the school is forcing it upon our children and planting ideas in their heads
One anonymous parent said her child is too young to be taught ‘what goes on in someone’s bedroom.’ She added that it feels like the school is ‘forcing it upon our children’ and ‘planting ideas’ in their heads and says that she thinks children should be taught about homosexuality when they are older.
Spielman disagrees with this view, saying that the lessons aren’t too mature as they teach children ‘just enough to know that some people prefer not to get married to somebody of the opposite sex and that sometimes there are families that have two mummies or two daddies.’ She added that the lessons would also help children to realise that it’s ok to ‘not fit a conventional pattern.’
This protest in Birmingham comes during LGBT History Month. The University of Birmingham has held LGBTQ+ events throughout February, including open mic nights and talks to raise awareness of sexual violence. Professor Tim Jones, Provost and Vice-Principal of UoB, stated that the University is ‘proud of its diverse staff and student bodies’ and is committed to ‘supporting LGBTQ equality amongst our staff, students and the wider community.’