A new book aimed at teaching junior schools children about same sex marriage is to be distributed to schools across England, and translated into Welsh. Prince Henry tells the tale of a young prince who decides to marry his servant, Thomas, despite his parents’ objections that it is against the law as Thomas “is poor”, and therefore “not equal.”
The book is being distributed by Pop’n’Olly, a company which produces YouTube videos promoting social diversity and the breaking of gender stereotypes, including families headed by same sex couples. It also creates educational material for use in classrooms and by parents, such as a short video explaining the origins of the pride movement’s rainbow flag.
Founder Olly Pike said his motive in setting up the YouTube channel was to overcome discrimination and promote acceptance: “I feel the best way to battle discrimination for future generations is to start with children. We should educate them about a wider cross-section of society and teach acceptance with regards to love, kindness and respect.”
Prince Henry is the company’s first foray into children’s books. It tells the story of Henry, a young prince whose best friend is his faithful servant Thomas. Eventually the time comes for Henry to marry, but he turns down all the Princes and Princesses suggested by his parents, opting to marry Thomas instead. When his father says that this is “against the law and our tradition” as “Thomas is poor”, Henry makes an impassioned plea:
“You may not think that we are equal because I am rich and Thomas is poor, but we are. We all are. Every human being, no matter how rich, or poor, or different, or similar. We are all worth the exact same. We are all priceless.”
His father, moved to tears, relents and agrees to the marriage.
— Pop’n’Olly (@PopnOlly) August 17, 2015
Sixty copies of the book have now been bought by Educate and Celebrate, a charity dedicated to making schools and organisations LGBT friendly, for distribution in junior schools across the country. Pop’n’Olly is also in the process of having the book translated into Welsh for a school in Wales.
Elly Barnes, CEO and founder of Educate & Celebrate told Breitbart London: “Olly Pike’s recently published book Prince Henry is a clever and touching story on a number of levels. It is about the love between two men but also about other barriers that can exist in society and families that makes it difficult for people to be together.
“Prince Henry is a fairytale romance with a positive message about love and equality and therefore Educate & Celebrate are using the book in our range of school resources; PRIDE in Primary Education.
“These resources have been selected by Educate & Celebrate as we think they best represent lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans characters for children in primary schools to enjoy. The books fit perfectly into the language and literacy strategy and can be used throughout the school’s curriculum to ensure that LGBT+ characters are represented, are real and visible. This visibility and inclusion can help schools to eradicate homophobia, biphobia and transphobia and all other forms of discrimination.”
Elly Barnes is better known as the teacher who pioneered her whole school approach to tackling homophobia in Stoke Newington, culminating in the school holding the first LGBT history month. It’s an approach which has now been rolled out by Ofsted as best practice for tackling homophobia in schools.
But while her approach has been widely lauded – she was voted #1 in the Independent on Sunday’s Pink List 2011, and has been shortlisted in the National Diversity Awards 2015, those who support the traditional view of marriage have not fared so well in the education system.
Students at faith schools have been reduced to tears by school inspectors quizzing them on lesbianism and whether they felt trapped in their own body. One boy, a pupil at a Christian school which was eventually closed down for not adhering to “British values” reported that he was quizzed alone by an inspector in a closed room, and was made to feel embarrassed and unsafe by the line of questioning the inspector took, which included personal questions about his sexuality.
Colin Hart, campaign director for the Coalition for Marriage told Breitbart London that it was precisely these sorts of incidents that his campaign sought to protect students against when opposing the introduction of materials such as Prince Henry.
“We are very concerned that these uber-politically correct books will be forced upon very young children, teachers and parents without any discussion or consultation. What is worse is refusal to use them will be a justification for Ofsted to downgrade the school.”
Ms Barnes insisted that her charity had every legal right to distribute the materials, saying: “In the UK all schools must adhere to the law and therefore reading such a book is not contentious and should not require permission as it is in line with our equality legislation covered by the Equality Act 2010.
She continued: “In 2015, we can read books about people of different cultures, religions, disabilities without question and without parental, teacher and governor concerns, yet we have still not reached the same point with books containing LGBT+ characters. Therefore on our journey to inclusion we must begin to break down the negativity and fear surrounding LGBT+ inclusivity by increasing visibility in all aspects of school life including our libraries.”
Mr Hart countered that, far from being fully inclusive, modern diversity appears to make space for every minority group except faith groups. “The legislation’s impact is already being felt in schools up and down the country. There are numerous reports about Christian and Jewish schools being targeted by Ofsted inspectors and their pupils subjected to humiliating and age inappropriate questions,” he said.
He cites Rabbi Nessanel Lieberman, a registered schools inspector and head teacher who, told a meeting of teachers earlier this year that the education watchdog has “an agenda to knock down our schools, starting with the Jewish Foundation School last summer. We are now in the situation where Ofsted is looking for a pretext for inspectors just to turn up.”
Mr Hart noted: “The Rabbi described Ofsted’s aims as a hodge-podge of left-wing ideals that were designed to clamp down on institutions that don’t conform to their ideology. This means forcing their views of marriage on young children.”