Parents and teachers overwhelmingly support children learning about LGBT+ issues at school, according to a new survey.
The survey—which was published today by TES, a teaching publication—was carried out by Professor Jonathan Glazzard and Samuel Stones of the Carnegie School of Education.
They surveyed 366 teachers and parents following protests at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham against the school’s LGBT+ lessons.
Strong majority support children learning about LGBT+ people
94 percent of those surveyed said they thought it was important that children learn about LGBT+ identities in school. The same number of people said schools have a responsibility to promote LGBT+ inclusion.
88 percent of those surveyed said parents should not have the right to withdraw children from lessons about LGBT+ people.
The same number said that schools who taught children about LGBT+ issues were not promoting a sexual orientation or gender identity.
However, support for teaching younger children about LGBT+ issues was slightly lower. 76 percent said schools should teach children about different types of relationships from the age of 4.
Meanwhile, 73 percent said same-sex marriage should be taught to children from that age, and just 50 percent said children aged 4 and up should learn about transgender identities.
One of the researchers told TES.com that some parents may feel that children of that age are “too young” to learn about LGBT+ people.
“The data suggests that there might be a view that exposing young children to different kinds of people and relationships is somehow harmful.”
However, they pointed out that many children have LGBT+ relatives and same-sex parents.
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“They are aware of same-sex relationships and they may have brothers, sisters, aunties and uncles in their family who identify as LGBT,” they said.
The researcher also pointed out that children currently learn about opposite sex marriage in schools and learn about opposite sex relationships from a young age.
“The data suggests that there might be a view that exposing young children to different kinds of people and relationships is somehow harmful,” they said.
“The findings also suggest significant resistance to teaching children about transgender identities, which indicates negativity towards the transgender community.”
Protests against LGBT+ lessons at Parkfield school have sparked a media frenzy
The research comes after weeks of controversy following protests at Parkfield school in Birmingham over LGBT+ lessons for children.
The school found itself at the centre of a media storm when the protests began against classes being taught by Andrew Moffatt, the assistant headteacher who developed the No Outsiders programme.
Speaking to TES last month, Moffatt said the protests were “very hurtful.”
“I think the worst part for me was when adults who weren’t actually parents were getting children to chant ‘Get Mr Moffat out.’ Now that was awful.”
Moffat’s No Outsiders programme educates children on all aspects of the Equality Act 2010, including gender and sexuality, through 35 picture books.