Parents must understand UK is a society ‘with liberal views’, says Sir Michael Wilshaw
A Birmingham primary school that suspended lessons about LGBT rights following protests by parents should resume them, the former head of the schools watchdog has said.
Parents of pupils at Parkfield community school in Saltley have staged weekly protests over the lessons, which they claim promote gay and transgender lifestyles. Earlier this month, hundreds of mainly Muslim children, aged between four and 11, were withdrawn from the school for the day.
The school announced on Thursday that the No Outsiders lessons, which teach tolerance of diverse groups, including those of different races, genders and sexual orientation, would not be taught “until a resolution has been reached”.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Sir Michael Wilshaw – who was head of Ofsted until 2016 – said: “Conservative religious people [can] uphold their views … – sincerely held views – but also they’ve got to understand that they are living in this country, in a pluralistic society with liberal values, that strongly believes that people should be treated fairly and equally.”
Asked if he thought the lessons should be reinstated, he said: “Absolutely they should reinstate them.” Wilshaw said: “There have been problems in Birmingham for a very long time and it’s really important that there is strong political backing in Birmingham for this issue, from both the local authority, local MPs and also the Department of Education, to make absolutely clear that they will not tolerate this sort of behaviour.”
Read more: Birmingham school should resume LGBT lessons, says ex-Ofsted chief