Four more schools in Birmingham — Leigh Primary School, Alston Primary School, Marlborough Junior and Infants School and Wyndcliff Primary School — have stopped lessons on LGBT rights following complaints from parents. Leigh Trust, the multi-academy educational organisation behind the schools, said it was suspending the No Outsiders program until an agreement with parents was reached.
The project was created and piloted at Parkfield in 2014 by assistant head teacher Andrew Moffat, who was given an MBE for services to equality and diversity in education in 2017. Under its auspices, books telling stories about same-sex relationships and marriages — including Mommy, Mama and Me and King & King — are also available in the schools' libraries.
Great statement from Parkfield School on BBC radio4 6.00 news today supporting #nooutsiders “no outsiders is about tolerance, respect, acceptance and embracing differences in people which is at the heart of British Values”— Andrew Moffat (@moffat_andrew) March 19, 2019
In a letter, the Trust said it was stopping the lessons until after Ramadan, which finishes in June.
"The powerpoint was written four years ago in line with Prevent duty at that time. No Outsiders is all about tolerance, accepting difference and respect, which are all key aspects of community cohesion and our fundamental British values," a spokesperson for Parkfield Community School said.
The bigotry of religious privilege. Another primary school in #Birmingham— Amina Lone (@Amina_Lone) March 19, 2019
Another protest against teaching #NoOutsiders programme. Parents who want special protection for religious freedom but deny other minorities the same. pic.twitter.com/JtDU3mN4mN
Mother Fatima Shah, who has taken her 10-year-old daughter out of Parkfield school, told BirminghamLive the program was "inappropriate, totally wrong".
"Children are being told it's OK to be gay yet 98 per cent of children at this school are Muslim. It's a Muslim community," she said.
Why are Islamic groups being allowed to stop LGBT lessons? So sad. Another five schools now banned the No Outsiders lessons. Don’t understand it. No religious group should have that influence. Isn’t religion about love and acceptance? #LGBTLessons #NoOutsiders— India Willoughby (@IndiaWilloughby) March 19, 2019
Shah isn't alone — hundreds of Muslim children have been kept away from the schools since the start of March, while teachers — including Moffat, who is gay — have been accused of using pupils as guinea pigs in a perverse social experiment.
The scandal has split the local Labour party, which dominates the city — Shabana Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Ladywood, has urged educational authorities to understand parents' grievances "in the context of religious backgrounds", while fellow Labour activists have denounced her defence of "bigotry".