Anderton Park Primary under renewed pressure for promoting acceptance of LGBT people

May 25, 2019

Anderton Primary School in Birmingham is continuing to be at the centre of protest and debate regarding promoting the acceptance of LGBT people. It is one of a number of schools in the city that provides the ‘No Outsiders’ programme, which promotes inclusivity on a variety of grounds including, subtly, on the grounds of sexual orientation and transgender. Others schools this year have been attacked for the LGBT content of their ‘No Outsiders’ teaching, including ones that have decided to suspend their provision of the programme, but Anderton Primary has bravely pressed ahead.

It has been reported this week that on Sunday (May 19th) police were called to the school following complaints that activists who had hung messages of support for teachers had been harassed and pelted with eggs, while on Monday it was claimed 600 of the school’s 749 pupils were withdrawn in protest at its curriculum. Reports today record that Anderton Primary closed early for its half term at midday ahead of an expected large demonstration outside the school.

As well as being the focus of local campaigning, the school has also been at centre of wider public debate this week, with civic leaders offering a range of comments. They include:

  • Birmingham Hall Green MP, Roger Godsiff, criticising the school, including in interview with 2019 Accord Inclusivity Award judge Iain Dale
  • Chief Constable of the West Midlands police, Dave Thompson, urging that public protests outside the school should come to an end
  • Education Secretary Damien Hinds criticising the protests and calling for greater dialogue between the school and parents
  • Director of the New Schools Network, Luke Tryl, criticising Ministers for ‘passing the buck’ and not sufficiently supporting the school

Chair of the Accord Coalition, the Revd Stephen Terry, said ‘Anderton Primary School is at the centre of a media storm and under immense public pressure. Their resolute support for inclusive education should be lauded, and especially much more enthusiastically by central government.’

‘Until very recently the Education Secretary has kept his head in the sand about these ugly protests, while at the same he has weakened the promotion of LGBT inclusivity in schools. This includes in February by issuing relationships education guidance, which does not require primary schools to even mention LGBT people, and new independent school standards guidance that has diluted the promotion of LGBT inclusivity. This has very unhelpfully undermined Ofsted’s attempts to ensure independent school pupils know about LGBT people.’

‘The Accord Coalition offers its moral support to Anderton Primary School. It urges the Department for Education to not just urgently do the same, but to unpick and reverse the weakening of LGBT inclusivity that is has recently overseen.’

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