AND, as you’ve probably already guessed, Ofsted’s glowing assessment of Parkfield Community School in Saltley, Birmingham, has infuriated some of those who have been aggressively campaigning against its ‘No Outsiders’ programme.
Mohammed Aslam, speaking on behalf of the parents, said he was disappointed with Ofsted and disputed the watchdog’s claim that a “small minority” of parents had protested against the programme.
The inspectors spoke to lots of parents during the visit, many of whom raised concerns about “No Outsiders”, but their grievances have not been reflected in the report.
Ofsted has praised the school’s links with the parents. If the school had good links with parents then why have hundreds of parents been protesting about the lessons every week? The parents [who have raised concerns] have yet again been humiliated. They [the school] have made our children suffer and the local community suffer .
Inspectors visited Parkfield community school in Saltley, Birmingham, last month after parents complained the lessons promoted gay and transgender lifestyles and were being taught to pupils who were too young to understand.
On the basis of the inspection, the schools watchdog ruled in favour of the school on Tuesday, praising its record on promoting “tolerance, acceptance and mutual respect” and confirming its Ofsted rating of “outstanding”.
The school attracted national attention after parents staged protests outside the entrance and some withdrew their children from classes because of its approach to LGBT and equalities education.
Inspectors said there was a “small, vocal minority” of parents who believed the school’s equalities curriculum focused disproportionately on LGBT issues and was not taught in an age-appropriate way, but they found no evidence to support this.
They said their inquiries found most Parkfield parents supported the curriculum and understood the school was helping their child play a positive role in modern British society.
After interviewing school leaders, teachers, governors, pupils and parents, the senior inspector, Peter Humphries, concluded:
I am of the opinion that at this time, safeguarding is effective. In addition, leaders and those responsible for governance have maintained the high standards of education seen at the previous inspection in May 2016.
Pupils talk knowledgeably and perceptively about how individuals and groups of people may be different to them in terms of, for example, their disability, age, race, religion, belief or no belief, gender and sexual orientation.
One pupil summed up the views of many when they said ‘We look out for, and after, people who are different so that we can help one another’. Respect, tolerance, understanding and acceptance of others’ differences underpin the work of the school.
The gay assistant headteacher, Andrew Moffat, above, who was awarded an MBE for his work in equalities education, said he was threatened and targeted via a leaflet campaign after the school piloted the “No Outsiders” programme.
Devised by Moffat, who is among the finalists for a global teaching prize that will be awarded later this month, its ethos is to promote LGBT equality and challenge homophobia in primary schools. Many schools around the country have adopted the programme.
Humphries said “almost all” the 95 parents who responded to an Ofsted questionnaire, and those who spoke to inspectors, supported the school.
However, a very small, but vocal minority of parents are not clear about the school’s vision, policies and practice. This group of parents feel that staff do not sufficiently listen to their concerns.
Their view is that the PSHE [personal, social, health and economic] education and equalities curriculum focuses disproportionately on lesbian, gay and bisexual issues and that this work is not taught in an age-appropriate manner. Inspectors found no evidence that this is the case.
Hazel Pulley, the chief executive of the Excelsior multi-academy trust, to which Parkfield belongs, said:
We are absolutely thrilled with the Ofsted report and feel that it accurately sums up the fantastic work going on in the school.