LGBT protest teachers ‘at limit of what they can take’

Heads’ leader says he never imagined he would have to ‘defend people that are subject to death threats, intimidation and violence’

Martin George

Psychologists working at Anderton Park Primary School said staff "have never seen a team of people at the edge of their limitations on what they can take", the schools' head said.

Teachers at a school at the centre of high-profile demonstrations against LGBT content in lessons are at the limit of what they can take, its head has said.

Anderton Park Primary School in Birmingham has won a High Court injunction to stop mainly Muslim protesters demonstrating outside its gates.

The school’s headteacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, who said she had been branded a “paedophile” by some protesters, yesterday addressed MPs at a parliamentary briefing organised by the NAHT headteachers’ union.

Speaking afterwards, she told Tes: “We have a crash team of psychologists in our school supporting our staff and they have said they have never seen a team of people at the edge of their limitations on what they can take, and these are people who deal with child deaths, all kinds of things across the city.

“All credit to our staff that they are unbelievably robust human beings who will stick this out because they are human beings and this is the right things to do.”

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The school's deputy head Claire Evans has told Tes that being at the centre of the demonstrations was “utterly horrific”. There is evidence that campaigns are spreading to an increasing number of areas.

In the ruling on the Anderton Park protests, the judge said it was likely a full trial scheduled for next month would find that “some of the protesting has gone beyond lawful limits and strayed into harassing, alarming or distressing conduct, through its persistence, timing and context".

Parkfield Primary School in Birmingham had previously been targeted by demonstrators.

Its deputy head, Andrew Moffat, developed the widely-used No Outsiders programme to teach about diversity and tolerance, and was subject to personal abuse from some protesters.

He has previously told Tes that his school had paid for him to have counselling.

Following the briefing, 10 MPs who were present signed an NAHT pledge to “support education in all schools which promotes equality, enabling children to leave school prepared for life in modern Britain, understanding difference and respecting diversity”.

Paul Whiteman, the union’s general secretary, said: “I never imagined when I became general secretary of this union that I would be defending and representing people that are subject to death threats, intimidation and violence because they are doing the job that they have been asked to do.”

The full trial to consider the injunction about protests outside Anderton Primary School is set to take place between 22-31 July.

Asked how she sees the dispute at her school ending, Ms Hewitt-Clarkson told Tes: “Normally I have many answers to all these questions, but that’s the one I’m not sure of.”

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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