Ofsted chief says children should be taught about same-sex couples at primary schools

A drawing from picturebook 'My Rainbow Family' shows same-sex couples

Ofsted head Amanda Spielman has said that primary schools have a duty to teach about same-sex couples.

The head of the government’s education watchdog intervened in a row at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham, which has faced weeks of protests from parents over LGBT anti-bullying lessons for young children.

In an interview with the BBC, published on Thursday (February 21) she said: “It’s making sure they know just enough to know that some people prefer not to get married of someone of the opposite sex, and sometimes there are families that have two mummies or two daddies.

“It’s about making sure that children who do happen to realise that they themselves may not fit a conventional pattern know that they’re not bad or ill.

“It’s something that a vast majority of faith schools, including those who teach that homosexuality is not right in their faith, still manage to do this in a sensitive and careful way that does fulfil the law.”

Ofsted chief: Children should know some families have two mummies

At Parkfield Community School a number of protesters, predominantly from Muslim and evangelical Christian families, have called for the ‘No Outsiders’ lessons to be scrapped and demanded the resignation of the school’s assistant head teacher Andrew Moffat, who is gay.

However, Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman reaffirmed the importance of inclusive education in primary schools.

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman

Responding to the protests, she said: “We’ve got to have a sane, rational discussion. To say, are there places where it’s not working well enough? It’s conversation that will change it, not protests.

“The essence of democracy means that we don’t always get our own way… there will always be things that some of us don’t like.”

Government equalities minister: Parents ‘have a responsibility’ to back school

In an interview with PinkNews, the government’s junior equalities minister Baroness Williams also spoke about the row.

She said: “It’s so difficult for that school, and I do appreciate some of the problems that schools might have.

“The fact your headteacher is gay, doesn’t make your headteacher any less of a good headteacher than if your headteacher was straight. I think parents have got responsibility to support the authorities that are teaching their children.”

The minister added: “I think schools need to be sensitive to concerns, and I think they need to teach in a sensitive way so as to not undermine people’s religious sensibilities, and most schools do.

“I think there’s a there’s a balance to be struck between the needs of the parents and the children, and the things that need to be taught in school.”