Parents vow to continue protest against LGBT classes

Becky Johnson, Midlands correspondent

Parents protesting against their children being taught about homosexuality at their school say they will continue their campaign until the lessons are stopped.

Lessons about LGBT relationships have been halted at Birmingham's Parkfield Community School but will reportedly resume after Easter.

Parents have held a series of protests outside the school gates and hundreds of children were withdrawn from lessons for a day.

The majority of the school's pupils are Muslim.

Irfan Musa, whose son attends the school, told Sky News: "We want to bring our children up the way we want to bring them up. He's my child.

"I do understand he needs to learn stuff later in life.

"When I've moulded him into what I want him to be he can learn that stuff.

"Because of my religion and my faith we don't believe in our children being homosexual so for me as a parent to protect my child and my religion... I don't want him to be taught this stuff."

When asked how he would feel if his son was gay, he replied: "Why would he end up being gay?

"Some people are gay innit, not my people ain't."

A mother whose daughter attends the school said she believes it is wrong to be gay.

"For us it's totally impermissible," she said.

"A gay and a gay cannot have a natural baby."

Many parents were unwilling to speak on camera to Sky News, but none were willing to defend the school's "No Outsiders" lessons that have sparked the protests.

The programme was written by the school's assistant headteacher Andrew Moffat, who was awarded an MBE for his work in equality education.

Sky News has seen a copy of his book which says: "We are teaching about equality.

"Our school ethos says that everyone is welcome and there are no outsiders.

"This means if someone is black, they are welcome in school; if someone uses a wheelchair, they are welcome in school; and if someone is gay, they are welcome in school."

It continues: "Some of our children may turn out to be gay or know gay people and they need to know that it's OK."

Mariam Ahmed, whose four-year-old daughter attends the school, began the campaign against the classes.

"It's not about being homophobic at all," she said.

"The fact that my child in particular has come home and said to me: 'I can wear boys clothes, I can change my name', this and that and confusing my child at such a young age, it's not right, it shouldn't be done."

The school did not respond to our request for an interview.

Birmingham city councillor John Cotton said: "We remain concerned at the continued protests by parents of Parkfield School and urge both the school and parents to come together in the spirit of co-operation in the best interests of the children.

"Parkfield School is an academy, but in spite of the restrictions this places upon the council's scope to act, officers have been closely involved in supporting Parkfield and its staff.

"We are working with the regional schools commissioner - which is responsible for academies - to address this issue.

"Whilst we recognise that parents have concerns, continuing protests only serve to attract extreme fringe movements taking an opportunity to further messages of division and hate.

"In recent days, we have been appalled to see attempts to divide the people of our city by using insulting and incendiary language targeting the LGBT community.

"This has no place in our city.

"Birmingham is a place of tolerance and mutual respect, where people of all faiths and none, all sexualities, all ethnicities, come together in pursuit of a common aim."