‘Furious’ parents protest against LGBTQ-inclusive education outside Manchester school

Parents hold signs up at Birchfields Primary School protest in Manchester

More than 100 “furious” parents have protested against “age-inappropriate” LGBTQ-inclusive education, outside a school in Manchester.

Protestors gathered outside Birchfields Primary School and held signs that read “stop sexualising our children”, as well as “save our kids from age-inappropriate material” and “too much, too soon”.

The protest was against the school’s relationships and sexuality education (RSE) lessons.

Mohammed Sajjad, the organiser of the rally, whose children attend the school, said: ”We just want an open and honest discussion with teachers regarding the material being shown and how it’s being delivered.”

According to the government’s website, the focus of RSE lessons in primary schools is to teach students about positive relationships, with particular reference to friendships, family relationships and relationships with other children and with adults.

The protestors chanted “shame on you” and “Whose kids? Our kids”, referring to the alleged screening of a video of a seven-year-old trans child during a lesson last year. 

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According to Sajjad, the parents handed in 120 complaints last year.

The video was later removed from the curriculum, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

In a video posted by 5Pillars – the only regulated Muslim news site in Europe, Australia and the Americas – on 4 July, Roshan Salih, the editor, said the people gathered outside the school “are furious because they know that explicit sex education videos have been shown to very young children”. 

Outrage over the curriculum has seen hundreds of children being kept off school. 

Sajjad said the rally called for “a review of all content that can be deemed age-inappropriate or sensitive”.

‘We are proud of the impact this has on us’

Speaking to the BBC, a school representative said parents had been informed that it had “never taught sex education” but had “successfully taught relationship education”.

The spokesperson went on: “We are proud of the impact this has on us being a welcoming and inclusive school, where children thrive and are happy. Some parents have recently expressed concern about the content of this curriculum, which is set by the Department for Education (DfE), and we’re working closely with [them] to address the issues raised.”

The DfE confirmed an urgent review of the curriculum has been brought forward to ensure teaching is age-appropriate and fact-based. It added that parents should be able to view all curriculum materials. 

Parents urged not to ‘disrupt learning’

Concerns over the RSE lessons have also been reported to Manchester City Council by a “small number of parents”, a spokesperson for the local authority said. 

The council hopes to “resolve the issues” they added.

“We want all our children and young people to grow up understanding and respecting differences between people.” 

The council urged parents not to disrupt learning, adding that children and staff had the right to go to school “without fear and interruption”.

RSE lessons continue to be contentious for some parents. In December, a legal challenge to ban the compulsory lessons in Wales failed in what was described as a “victory for children’s rights”. However, last month, a report found that there is a “compelling” case for a reform of the lessons after it was revealed that some schools in Northern Ireland were teaching that homosexuality is wrong. 

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