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A spike in children being homeschooled may be due to LGBT-inclusive education

Emma Powys Maurice September 23, 2019

Parents demonstrating against the 'No Outsiders' programme at Parkfield Community School in March (Christopher Furlong/Getty)

An increasing number of parents in Birmingham are pulling their children out of mainstream schools to stop them receiving LGBT-inclusive relationships education.

Figures obtained by The Times indicate a sharp rise in children being withdrawn from schools, which is thought to be directly linked to the ongoing protests against LGBT-inclusive lessons.

The report shows that more than 2,000 children are now being homeschooled in the city. This includes four pupils from Parkfield and six from Anderton Park, the two schools at the epicentre of protests.

In total, almost 400 children have been withdrawn from Birmingham schools in the city since the start of the year, when protests began. This represents a 15 percent rise year-on-year.

Dame Louise Casey, a former Home Office adviser who carried out a landmark report on integration, said that homeschooling was “directly related” to issues such as the LGBT+ lessons row.

“There are very few checks at all across homeschooling,” she told The Times.

Inclusive relationships and sex education will be statutory in all schools from September 2020, despite parents’ protests (Christopher Furlong/Getty)

On Friday she appeared on the BBC’s Today programme to criticise minister’s handling of the school protests, saying that the government had been “too silent” on the issue.

Schools minister Nick Gibb, who is openly gay, replied that this claim was “not true”.

“We have very senior officials working on a daily basis with the school, with Birmingham City Council, with the parents, with the protesters, to find a solution to the dispute between these two schools and these parents,” he said.

But the spike in school withdrawals suggests that the issue is unlikely to be resolved soon, and experts have warned that homeschooling children can put them at greater risk of radicalisation.

Calls for LGBT- inclusive education at Birmingham Pride (Jim Wood/Barcroft Media/Getty)

“Ofsted and other experts have told us that unregulated establishments and homeschooling can leave children more vulnerable to extremism,” said The Commission for Countering Extremism, adding that the Department for Education should be concerned by the new figures.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “We encourage parents to talk to their child’s school if they have concerns about the new curriculum and resolve them in a calm and constructive way.

“If parents take their children out of school, they have a responsibility to demonstrate to the local authority that they are receiving a suitable education.

“Senior officials are tirelessly working on a daily basis with school leaders, Birmingham City Council and the wider community to defuse the issues that lie behind the protests.”

More: Anderton Park Primary School, Birmingham, homeschooling, LGBT-inclusive education, No Outsiders, Parkfield School

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