CI urges Ofsted: Back parents, don’t undermine them

Parents should not be pushed aside if they object to their children being taught about same-sex relationships, The Christian Institute has said in a challenge to schools watchdog Ofsted.

Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman, who previously has called for ‘muscular liberalism’ in schools, told the BBC that it was important for primary-aged children to be taught about LGBT issues.

She dismissed recent protests by some Muslim parents, and said that democracy meant “there will always be things that some of us don’t like”.

Controversial

Spielman said it was important for children to know about same-sex relationships.

She also claimed there was a “moral case” for schools to talk about such issues.

But The Christian Institute’s Director Colin Hart said parents expect Ofsted to ensure a good quality of education, rather than to get “side-tracked into identity politics”.

“The fact that same-sex marriage exists is something that can be covered in secondary schools. Not every controversial issue has to be covered in primary schools.

Innocence

“The idea of teaching ever more detail about sex to ever younger children is deeply worrying.”

He added that treating parents who object as ‘homophobic’ is not the answer. “They just want to protect their child’s innocence.”

Mr Hart added: “Ofsted have some work to do in restoring the trust of parents who have a religious faith.

Fear

“Parents read the papers. They’ve seen the furore over Ofsted inspections at Jewish and Christian schools.

“Now Muslim parents in Birmingham are concerned about the level of LGBT teaching in their primary schools.”

He concluded that instead of listening to parents, the Chief Inspector “seems to be casting doubts on their integrity” and implying that parents are covering up their own “fear, ignorance or possibly even homophobia”.

Challenge

Earlier this month, MPs challenged Amanda Spielman about Ofsted’s approach to issues of faith.

Gateshead MP Ian Mearns, whose constituency includes a large Jewish community, said one parent had summarised the issue as: “I don’t want my child learning about transgender at an age when they still believe in the tooth fairy.”

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