Too young for LGBT education?

MP: four and five-year-olds "too young" to learn about issues

Head condemns MP's 'misinformed and discriminatory' LGBT comments

The headteacher at the centre of a furore over whether it is right to share LGBT equality messages with young children has issued a furious riposte to her school's MP.

Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, head at Anderton Park Primary School in Sparkhill, said the comments of the area's Labour MP Roger Godsiff were "misinformed and discriminated against LGBTQ people".

She suggested he might even be in breach of his duty as a public servant to share equality messages.

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Are primary school children "too young" to learn about LGBT issues?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

A primary school in Birmingham has endured weeks of protests from parents over their LGBT lessons.

An MP argues that some of the children at Anderton Primary School are too young to be taught about the issues.

However, the school's head teacher has attacked the "misinformed comments" about the lessons on equality.

The Claim

Roger Godsiff argues that four- and five-year-olds are too young to learn about LGBT issues.

The Birmingham Hall Green MP, who represents the constituency that contains Anderton Primary School, a Muslim-majority school that has seen weeks of demonstrations, says he has "concerns" about the appropriateness of the lessons.

In an interview with Birmingham Mail, he said: "As a parent wrote, some are just out of nappies. I think it is more appropriate at age seven, or six.

"Of course if a child asks the teacher questions about someone with two mummies it's right for the teacher to respond, I would not want them to lie.

"If the child raises it they are being inquisitive, that's fine but I do question the appropriateness of the teaching of it [LGBT issues]."

While backing the head teacher, and arguing that no parents has the right to veto lessons about equality, he adds: "But the minister (Education Secretary Damian Hinds) has said time and again, including when speaking to the House of Commons, he's referred to age-appropriate."

The Counterclaim

However, Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, the head teacher at Anderton Primary School, has criticised Godsiff for his comments on the LGBT lessons, the Birmingham Post reports.

She argues that the comments made by the MP were "misinformed and discriminated against LGBTQ people".

The head teacher even suggested that he might be in breach of his public duty to support equality for all.

In a direct message to Godsiff, she said: "Your comments suggest there is something wrong with being gay.

"You are a public servant too and the Public Sector Equality Duty applies to you - yet your comments discriminate against LBGTQ people."

Hewitt-Clarkson also told the MP to "do your research" after he referred to the 'No Outsiders' programme taught at Parkfield Community School, and not at Anderton, which has endured similar protests.

The Facts

'No Outsiders' is an award-winning programme taught in some primary schools. It is a wide-ranging curriculum that teaches children about the Equality Act, and covers LGBT rights, same-sex relationships, gender identity, race and religion.

It was written by Andrew Moffat, the assistant head teacher at Parkfield Community School in Alum Rock, Birmingham. Moffat, who is gay himself, has authored several books on equality and teaching.

The programme was paused after a series of protests from parents, who claimed the school, which serves a predominantly Muslim community, was "indoctrinating" their children and “promoting LGBT ways of life”.

Similar protests spread to other schools in Birmingham, including Anderton, which does not use the programme - but does teach LGBT lessons. Protests have been taking place outside of the primary school on a daily basis. Around 80 per cent of the 700 pupils are of the Muslim faith.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside of the school as demonstrations reached their eighth week. Pupils were sent home early before the biggest crowd yet arrived at the gates, the BBC reports.

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Birmingham Mail

MP says four and five year olds 'too young' for LGBT teaching

The MP for the city primary school facing daily protests over gay equality teaching has said four and five year olds are too young to learn about LGBT.

Roger Godsiff is Labour MP for Birmingham Hall Green, which includes Anderton Park Primary School in Sparkhill.

The school has been at the centre of a national storm over LGBT teachings, with crowds of parents staging daily demonstrations outside the gates.

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