No outsiders? More like no parents rights
Posted by Antonia Tully on 13 March 2019
Parents protest outside Parkfield Community School.
Antonia Tully, SPUC's Campaign's Director, says that the Government is refusing to listen to parents.
This week, I was interviewed by BBC Radio Kent. The story being covered was the Birmingham primary school which has hit the news because parents are protesting about the use of an LGBT teaching programme called "No Outsiders". The programme has been written by the deputy head at Parkfield, Andrew Moffat, who is openly homosexual and who deliberately chose to teach in a Muslim majority school. He considers that he is in "exactly the right place" and he "no plans to leave".
In recent weeks, every Thursday morning several hundred parents have staged a protest outside the school calling for an end to ‘No Outsiders’ because they feel that this is indoctrinating their children into accepting values contrary to their beliefs. On one Friday, 600 children were kept off school as part of the protest. Now Ofsted has come in and declared that No Outsiders is "age appropriate" and the school is rejoicing calling this "great news". The might of the political and educational establishment has closed ranks against these parents.
To get back to my radio interview, the line of questioning soon became apparent. Presenter Ian Collins described the concerns of the Parkfield protesters as "a charter for bigoted parents" and stated that the parents "are just wrong". Last month I took part in a Sky News interview. My opponent in the debate was Liat Hughes Joshi, who writes on parenting issues. Her view was that compulsory teaching of same sex relationships is needed because of "backward" parents. Later on that same day, Loic Menzies, who works for LKMco, an education think tank, came out with the stunning statement: "It’s a little bit dangerous to view children as the private property of their parents."
I’m beginning to see a pattern here. Parents who dare to challenge the new orthodoxy in relation to relationships, marriage and family are intolerant, narrow-minded and cannot be trusted to educate their own children in these matters. So-called bigoted parents are now the killer argument to justify teaching children in England about any aspect of sex, in lessons from which, after September 2020, their parents cannot withdraw them. And worse, the state truly believes that they own our children. MP Sir Edward Leigh never spoke a truer word than when, in 2017, he said of compulsory relationships education: "Many parents will view this a state take-over bid of parenting."
Ignoring those most concerned
The Government is refusing to listen to parents. In a recent Government consultation about the content of the new compulsory school subjects of Relationships Education in primary schools and Relationships and Sex Education in secondary schools, 31% of people who responded to the consultation were parents. This was the largest group. An additional 11% of people who responded were grandparents. This means that 42% of people who responded were those with the greatest vested interest in the welfare of children.
Overwhelmingly parents wanted their children in primary school to be taught about the value of marriage between one man and one woman. 50% disagreed strongly with the content of Relationships and Sex Education at secondary school, which reflects grave concerns about teaching young people one particular view about morally contentious issues such as abortion, sexual orientation and transgenderism. These topics are not morally neutral, whatever Ofsted may say.
Government ploughing ahead
Has the Government modified the guidance for schools on what should be taught in these new subjects, given the strength of parental concern? No. If anything the final guidance is even slightly worse than the original draft, as if in response to the majority opposition to its plans the Government has decided to dig in its heals with its new moral agenda hoping they can simply ride roughshod over the opposition.
SPUC Safe at School has dispatched nearly a quarter of a million postcards to groups and individuals around England enabling people to call on the Secretary of State for Education to give parents the right to withdraw their children from Relationships Education. We have heard not one word from the Department for Education. But they cannot be unaware of the strength of feeling in the country on this issue.
There is no more fundamental instinct in parents than to protect their child from danger. Now is the time for parents to stand their ground and protect their children. SPUC will continue to campaign to defend the rights of parents because the future of the pro-life movement lies within families.