No Outsiders creator Andrew Moffat urges government to ‘listen to teachers’ on sex education

Andrew Moffat of No Outsiders pictured at a school.

No Outsiders creator Andrew Moffat hopes the government will “listen to teachers” in its review of relationships and sex education.

In March, the education secretary and women and equalities minister announced a review into how relationships, sex and health education is being taught in schools “in response to disturbing reports that inappropriate material is being taught”.

The government announced that an independent panel will examine what materials are currently being used in classrooms in relationships and sex education. The panel will then advise what “safeguards” should be put in place to stop children learning about “contested and potentially damaging concepts”.

However, some have expressed concern about what the review could mean for LGBTQ+ inclusive education. In March, more than 50 organisations wrote to education secretary Gillian Keegan urging her to resist the “politicisation” of sex education. 

Andrew Moffat accepted the Role Model award
Andrew Moffat accepted the Role Model award (Paul Grace)

The expert panel is expected to deliver updated guidance on how sex education should be taught in September.

Andrew Moffat, the creator of inclusive education programme No Outsiders, told PinkNews he is optimistic about the review.

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Moffat’s programme was at the centre of the 2019 Birmingham schools protests, in which a group of anti-LGBTQ+ parents demonstrated outside of Parkfield Community School, where he was assistant head, over the inclusive lessons.

The protests, which were quashed by court injunction, didn’t stop Moffat’s dedication to inclusive teaching – he now travels the country delivering workshops four days a week.

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Speaking to PinkNews, Mofat said he hopes the review will accept that children “need to be talking about their gender and their gender identity”.

“Yes, we can talk about biological sex in the Equality Act, but lower down the score I think children are talking about who they are, boys and girls. There’s not one way to be a boy, there’s not one way to be a girl.

“The key is for me, what’s in the best interest of the child, and if children are worried about who they are, they need to be supported in that and be taught that you don’t have to worry. I’m not going to tell you who you are – you can tell me who you are and I will not pass judgement. I will say, great, lovely, you belong in my class.

“No one is telling children who they are or asking children to explore gender identity or anything like that. What we’re doing is, we’re talking to children that there are different ways to be a boy and different ways to be a girl and you don’t need to worry about it.” 

Moffat is “optimistic that the government will be listening to teachers”.

He said: “I was at the NAHT Union conference, the head teacher conference, only about two weeks ago where a motion was passed unanimously that I brought forward about changing the guidance on trans awareness in RSE.

“For example, the guidance says that we should treat students with sympathy and support, and I’m arguing that it’s not sympathy, it’s respect.”

Moffat, who was awarded an MBE in 2017 for his services to equality in education, said all children should be treated with “respect”, not sympathy, and that his motion was passed unanimously by 400 head teachers at the conference.

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The government’s current relationships and sex education review was announced by the prime minister after Tory MP Miriam Cates claimed children were being taught “graphic lessons on oral sex, how to choke your partner safely, and 72 genders”.

Teaching unions later said the flames where “inflammatory rhetoric” and that they were “politically motivated”. 

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