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Education

Protests against LGBT-inclusive education actually strengthened the case for equality, trailblazing teacher claims

Lily Wakefield February 6, 2020
Jabar Hussain: Dad prefers jail to his son being taught LGBT inclusive education

Protesters demonstrate against the 'No Outsiders' programme at Parkfield Community School on March 21, 2019 in Birmingham, England. (Christopher Furlong/Getty)

Andrew Moffat, teacher and creator of the LGBT-inclusive education programme No Outsiders, has said that last year’s protests outside schools actually strengthened the cause for equality.

Moffat began implementing No Outsiders at Parkfield Primary School in Birmingham, where he was assistant head teacher, last year.

The programme teaches children about all types equality, and includes inclusive education about LGBT+ families, through the use of picture books.

But the LGBT+ elements of the programme made headlines when protests were sparked at Parkfield School, which is in a predominantly Muslim community, in early 2019.

The High Court banned the group of protesters from standing outside the school in November, 2019, but Moffat has now said that the disruptive and anti-LGBT+ demonstrations actually strengthened the cause for equality.

One year on from the beginning of the protests, he told the i: “I remember thinking, ‘Oh well, that’s that then, I’m finished.’ No Outsiders will be finished now because no school will want to take this on.

“Actually, as we know, the opposite happened, because what the protest did was give No Outsiders a national profile.

“Rather than retreating, schools up and down the country started saying: ‘Well hang on a minute, what are we doing about LGBT+, what are we doing about different families, what are we doing about community cohesion? Let’s get in front of the argument.'”

Pat Sowa has called for LGBT inclusive education, like the lessons designed by Andrew Moffat.
Andrew Moffat teaching at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham. (Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize/YouTube)

Moffat has recently moved on from his role as assistant head at Parkfield to a new job at the Excelsior Multi Academy Trust, which runs the school, to allow him to deliver more training on No Outsiders.

The former assistant head said that the move was interpreted by some protestors as him giving in, but that he still returns to Parkfield and other schools to teach No Outsiders lessons.

He said: “I was being asked to go out two or three days a week… It was hard to keep my assistant head job going, being out all the time.

He continued: “It means that I haven’t disappeared, and that’s so important for the children to see, and the parents actually.

“It’s my ideal job really – I get to stay being a teacher, but having the freedom, the encouragement to go out and do equality work around the country.”

While the protests seem to have stopped for now, Moffat added: “If the protests continue you can guarantee I’m going to be back in that school. I’m not going to let people just cope while I go off.”

Last month, the head of schools watchdog Ofsted criticised the government for failing to publicly back teachers facing protests over LGBT+ inclusive education.

Moffat said: “I would agree with her. I would have liked more support from the Department for Education.

“I think the problem was people didn’t know what to do. It was the first time this had happened. People were just caught short really.

“But hopefully if it happened again I think and I hope there would be more engagement from the DfE.”

More: andrew moffat, Birmingham, LGBT-inclusive education, No Outsiders, Parkfield School, primary schools

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