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Ofsted chief: Parents protesting LGBT education ‘set terrible example for kids’

Nick Duffy April 1, 2019
Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman has said that parents protesting against LGBT-inclusive education are setting a “terrible example” for their children.

The official spoke out in a speech to the Muslim Teachers’ Association on Sunday (March 31), after Birmingham schools faced weeks of protests against LGBT-inclusive relationship education led by largely-Muslim groups of parents.

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman: Parents setting ‘terrible example’

Spielman, the head of the UK’s education watchdog, specifically noted the protests outside Parkfield primary school, explaining: “This is precisely where dialogue is essential.

“I understand the strength of feeling in that community. But it serves no one well to intimidate teachers and start protesting outside the school gates.

“All that does is make a difficult situation worse, while setting a terrible example for the children.”

— Amanda Spielman

“All that does is make a difficult situation worse, while setting a terrible example for the children.”

She added: “It is children’s voices that always get lost when adults stop talking and start shouting.

“It must be better to engage in calm discussions in order to find a sensible middle ground – one that means children are prepared for life in a diverse, modern, progressive country like ours, but it’s done in a sensitive and careful manner that respects the concerns of age, religion or any other background or context.In such circumstances dialogue can be our ally.

“It is through dialogue that we advance understanding and find common solutions.”

Spielman added that it is “the duty of all schools in England” to promote “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty [and] mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”

Schools must create spaces where everyone can ‘exist in harmony’

She added: “I believe this is right.

“These values make sure that government works for all citizens; they provide for a multi-racial society, building on what is already held in common.

“They promote both trust and the willingness to contribute to the common good; and create a space in which different beliefs, lifestyles and cultures can exist freely and in harmony.

“For us at Ofsted, making sure that the next generation understands, respects and is willing to adopt these values is an essential part of our work. It is about preparing children for life in modern Britain.”

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman
Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman

Spielman has been one of the few public figures to actively condemn the protests.

Prime Minister Theresa May and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn both came under scrutiny for failing to weigh in on the row.

Meanwhile, Education Secretary Damian Hinds has backed the schools but stressed the ability for teachers to decide what is and is not taught as part of relationship and sex education lessons.

More: Education, Gay, LGBT, Parkfield, school

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