LGBT-row teacher up for $1m global prize

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Andrew Moffat
Image caption,
Andrew Moffat, facing opposition from some parents, has been nominated for an international teaching prize

A Birmingham assistant head at the centre of a row over lessons on LGBT rights and homophobia has been named in the top 10 shortlist for a global teaching prize.

Parkfield Community School assistant head teacher Andrew Moffat is in the running for the $1m (£770,000) prize.

He has faced protests from some Muslim parents at the primary school.

The shortlist was announced by X-Men actor Hugh Jackman, who said teachers were the "real superheroes".

Mr Moffat has run a "No outsiders" project promoting equality and diversity in the school, including lessons about sexual identity and LGBT rights.

Media caption,

LGBT-row teacher on teaching kids about equality

This angered some parents, who earlier this term held protests outside the school, with some signing a petition against the project.

Protesters said primary school children were too young for such lessons.

But a statement from the school said it had a duty to protect pupils from harm, including homophobic or transgender bullying.

Mr Moffat, who was awarded an MBE in 2017 for his services to equality and diversity in education, has been named in the latest shortlist for the annual Global Teacher Prize, run by the Varkey Foundation education charity.

He was previously named in a top 50, which has now been narrowed to a top 10, with the winner to be announced next month.

Mr Moffat was commended for his work in improving opportunities for pupils in a deprived part of Birmingham, in a school where most are from Muslim families and many speak another language at home.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Hugh Jackman said teachers helped young people through "insecurity and doubt"

His runs projects for pupils to "meet others of different races, religions and cultures".

The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, said the top 10 placing of Mr Moffat was "another appropriate moment to thank all our teachers for their dedication and exceptional work, day after day, for our children and our society, in their unique role".

Teachers 'change the world'

Announcing the finalists in a video message, Jackman said: "I can tell you right now, from where I stand, with all my experience, the real superheroes are teachers - they're the ones that change the world.

"My favourite uncle was a teacher. My sister is a teacher. My brother is a teacher. And I have always felt the most important job in the world is teachers.

"All of us go through insecurity and doubt, trepidation along this journey of life. And those teachers that see the best in us and are patient enough to allow us to grow into that, they are like gold."

The other finalists are from Georgia, Brazil, the Netherlands, India, the United States, Argentina, Australia, Japan and Kenya.