Parents in Tower Hamlets of east London protested outside the Manorfield Primary School in opposition to mandatory relationships and sex education (RSE) lessons.
Partnered with the "Parents of Manorfield," British Muslim parents demanded the school stop teaching LGBT+ relationships and "sexual body parts" before year five.
BREAKING: I've arrived outside Manorfield Primary School in London where concerned British Muslim parents are prote… https://t.co/q1idmVz1wa— Robert Carter (@Robert Carter) 1634634237.0
The school gave a statement but did not outline what was in the curriculum. Under the guidelines set forth by the Department of Education, every teacher must include lessons with same-sex parents, while secondary school students learn about sexual orientation and gender identity.
Around 150 parents demanded the primary school's headteacher, Paul Jackson, resign.
Over one hundred and fifty parents gathered outside Manorfield Primary School on Tuesday 19th October to protest ag… https://t.co/kiI6nkSaXr— Parents of Manorfield (@Parents of Manorfield) 1634742335.0
Protested could be heard chanting:
"Don't Confuse Children."
"I Do Not Consent."
"Too Much, Too Soon."
"Education, Not Sexualization."
"My child my rights!" Muslim parents worried about RSE lessons have marched outside Head Teacher Mr Jackson's off… https://t.co/ylBPuMfzFg— Robert Carter (@Robert Carter) 1634637077.0
A similar event that took place in Birmingham and other cities. Parents protested the mandated LGBTQ+ inclusive RSE which was implemented in September 2020.
At that time, Education secretary Gavin Williamson supported the mandate and said he would support schools in teaching the curriculum.
"We shouldn't be seeing protests outside any schools."
"We want to make sure all pupils, parents and teachers are able to go to those schools freely without any form of intimidation."
The school gave a response to MyLondon about the protests:
"We are aware of this morning's demonstration outside of our school and have worked closely with appropriate authorities to ensure the safety of all children, staff and parents."
"The health, safety and wellbeing of our pupils is our top priority, and we work hard as a school to ensure that our full curriculum supports this."
"Our school also values open and constructive dialogue between the school and the community it serves, especially parents, which is why we have offered a number of consultative activities and opportunities for parents to engage with the RSE policy."
"We have listened to all of their feedback and taken it into consideration along with all of the guidance from the Department for Education and London Borough of Tower Hamlets."
"Any updates to the policy will be announced later this week and the policy will be published on our website."
Paul Jackson sent parents a letter regarding the demonstrations and giving parents ample opportunity to speak to the school about the policy.
The letter read:
"Our school also values open and constructive dialogue between the school and parents, which is why we have offered a number of consultative activities and opportunities for parents to engage wit the RSE policy."
"We have listened to all of the feedback and taken it into consideration along with all of the guidance from the department of education and London Borough of Tower Hamlets."
Parents of Manorfield retweeted the letter and claimed that they were not allowed to ask questions.
Information sessions where parents can't ask questions is not consultation. Schools have a legal duty to consult, D… https://t.co/r5e3q405nm— Tower Hamlets Parents Association (@Tower Hamlets Parents Association) 1634810202.0
They also made a lengthy twitter thread and stated they have made "numerous failed attempts" to speak with administration about the policy.
They also demanded that those "consultations" are accessible with language translation and that parents are allowed to ask questions. The lack of response to the parents request was considered a failing to the Muslim community.
@ManorfieldPri @TowerHamletsNow @MayorJohnBiggs @educationgovuk @THParents @SafJama @thmuslims @Bob_cart124… https://t.co/vSKqTOtZaZ— Parents of Manorfield (@Parents of Manorfield) 1634744426.0
The LGBTQ+ advocacy organization Stonewall shared information about the updates and their purpose:
"The new guidelines will better reflect the world that we now live in, covering important issues like consent and online safety alongside LGBTQ+ identities and relationships."
"Even before the new guidance was introduced, thousands of schools were already teaching LGBTQ-inclusive lessons. Now, all secondary schools who weren't doing so will now have to, and primary schools will be encouraged to."
"We believe it's vital for children to know that LGBTQ+ people and families exist and that they should be accepted like everybody else,."
"Children should learn this throughout primary and secondary school. Not only will this help young children from LGBTQ+ families feel accepted, it will also prevent bullying in the long run."
A spokesperson from London Borough for Tower Hamlets told PinkNews:
"Tower Hamlets is a place where we celebrate our differences and see our diversity as a strength."
"We want our schools to be places which champion this and make our children, and all families, feel welcome."
"We are also a place where we want our children to be safe, and the safety of children is an important part of the relationship and sexual education curriculum."
The Manorfield Primary School plans to release their RSE policy by October 22nd.