Parents do not have a veto over what their children can be taught in schools, the British Education minister has said.
The comments by Minister Damien Hinds, that there is no “parental veto on curriculum content”, refers to the controversy surrounding the teaching of LGBT relationships to children as young as four.
In recent months there has been a public outcry, in particular from parents in a predominately Muslim area of Birmingham, who grabbed headlines with their protests over the lessons being taught to their children. One parent described the lessons as “undermining parental rights and aggressively promoting homosexuality”.
Exodus from LGBT ‘Brainwash’ School as Muslim Parents Take 600 Children Out of Class https://t.co/7jb7kIsnx4
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 4, 2019
Over 600 children from the Parkfield School in Alum Rock in Birmingham, of which 98% of the pupils are from Muslim faith family backgrounds, have been kept at home by parents over the changes to the curriculum to teach children about gay and lesbian relationships.
One father at the school, who was involved in the ‘Let Kids be Kids’ protest said at the time: “this is a brainwash. We bring our children here so they can later work as a solicitor or a teacher, not to be taught about being gay or a lesbian.”
The changes to the curriculum have been brought about by the new deputy headteacher at Parkfield, Andrew Moffat. Mr Moffat, who is himself openly gay, said of the new curriculum that it was necessary for “preparing children for modern Britain” .
Six-Year-Old School Children Instructed to Write Gay Love Letters to Make Them ‘Accepting of Diversity’ https://t.co/HrnwmEvwuN
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 1, 2018
The protests are just one example of displeasure with the government’s new nationwide proposals to introduce compulsory relationship lessons for primary-aged children and compulsory sex education lessons for all secondary school children.
In response to the protests, the Education Minister Mr Hinds has been petitioned by the ‘National Association of Head Teachers’ (NAHT) union to ensure that the curriculum is introduced across the board. Mr Hinds responded in a letter to the NAHT that “at the heart of my vision for the education system is a strong belief in school autonomy”. He continued: “A core part of preparing children for life in modern Britain is ensuring they understand the world in which they are growing up. The world for our young people looks very different than it did 20 years ago, when we last made changes to health, relationships and sex education.
Mr Hinds’ letter concluded that “I want to reassure you and the members you represent that consultation does not provide a parental veto on curriculum content. We want schools to consult parents, listen to their views, and make reasonable decisions about how to proceed (including through consideration of their wider duties) – and we will support them in this. We trust school leaders and teachers to make the right professional choices and act reasonably when considering consultation feedback, and are clear that dedicated public servants faithfully discharging their duty have an absolute right to feel confident and safe.”