Anti-LGBT protests by pupils ‘very hurtful’, says teacher

Andrew Moffat backs decision to suspend No Outsiders programme after protests reduced children to tears

Martin George

Andrew Moffat.

The primary teacher at the centre of protests about LGBT content in lessons has spoken about his hurt that some of his pupils were involved in demonstrations outside his school.

Andrew Moffat, who teaches at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham, has been shortlisted for the $1 million Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize for his No Outsiders programme, which teaches children about diversity, tolerance and acceptance.

He was today asked about videos of protests outside the school which involved some pupils from his school.

Quick read: Protests at school over LGBT lessons row

Quick read: Spielman backs school over No Outsiders 

Background: Teacher shortlisted for global prize 

He said: “It’s very hurtful. I think the worst part for me was when adults who weren’t actually parents were getting children to chant 'Get Mr Moffat out.' Now that was awful.

“There was another time when someone was shouting ‘shame, shame, shame’. That was very difficult for me.

“But we have got to remember as well that there are many, many, many parents who weren’t on the protest, who brought their kids into school. There are many parents who talk to me all the time and say, ‘This is important and we support you.’"

Speaking today at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai, where the prize will be announced on Sunday, he also defended the right of his pupils to protest.

“Yes, those things were hurtful, but I also fight for the right to protest,” he said. “Protest is good because it is about dialogue, it’s about democracy.

“There’s a part of me, as a PSHE teacher, that I quite like the fact the children are protesting – what a great lesson. This is how democracy works.

“I mean, you know, it’s hard at the same time – I wish they were protesting about something else – but it’s democracy. It’s a great lesson for them, and we’ve just got to as a school manage it now.”

The school has suspended its use of the No Outsiders programme, which Mr Moffat said was the right decision.

He said: “In the end, the most important thing for us is the welfare of our children and the protests were damaging the welfare of our children.

“We had children coming in on those days in tears. We had children missing some part of their learning at the start of the day. We can’t have protests like that outside a school every week.”

Mr Moffat added that if he won the Global Teacher Prize, he wanted to expand his programme internationally.

He said: “I would definitely like to use it to further this work somehow, maybe put No Outsiders or community cohesion on a global platform. It would definitely involve my school, because my school is so important to me.”

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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