Birmingham & Black Country

Parkfield Community School: Ofsted says LGBT lessons are 'appropriate'

Protesters
Image caption About 100 people gathered outside the school for a protest at the start of February

Lessons about LGBT rights and homophobia at a school which sparked parent protests are age-appropriate, Ofsted has said.

Rallies have been held outside Birmingham's Parkfield Community School over the No Outsiders project.

In a report, Ofsted said there was no evidence the curriculum overly focused on LGBT issues or was not taught in an age-appropriate manner.

Head teacher David Williams described the findings as "great news".

But one parent who has opposed the project called the Ofsted report "a fallacy".

Inspectors visited the school after concerns were raised about its leadership.

The project was developed by assistant head teacher Andrew Moffat in 2014, with the aim of educating children to accept differences in society.

As well as LGBT issues, it teaches about race, religion, gender identity, age and disabilities.

But it has faced criticism from some Muslim parents for teaching children about same-sex couples.

They claimed the classes were not appropriate for young children and have staged protests.

Image caption Assistant head teacher Andrew Moffat created the No Outsiders programme

In a report, Ofsted's senior inspector Peter Humphries said: "A very small, but vocal, minority of parents are not clear about the school's vision, policies and practice.

"This group of parents feel that staff do not sufficiently listen to their concerns.

"Their view is that PSHE education and equalities curriculum focuses disproportionately on LGBT issues and that this work is not taught in an age-appropriate manner.

"Inspectors found no evidence this was the case."

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Maqsood Hussain, who has two children at the school, called the Ofsted report a "whitewash", insisting the issue concerned the age of the children.

"If there is nothing wrong, why do you find 600 children being withdrawn from school as a result of what is being taught in school?," he said.

"Why do you find a petition with over 500 names attached to it? Why do you find parents protesting for the last five or six weeks and then, there is nothing wrong?

"Clearly there is a breakdown. Clearly there are issues. The report itself is a whitewash. The report itself is a fallacy."

The education watchdog recommended the outstanding-rated school "develops its engagement with parents" so they understand how curriculum content is taught.

In a letter to parents, Mr Williams said it was "great news" inspectors recognised it had maintained the "high standards of education seen at the previous inspection".

West Midlands Police said it would be attending future meetings arranged by the school to prevent any breaches of the peace.

Image caption During previous protests, parents tied signs to iron railings outside the primary school

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