Ofsted backs Global Teacher Prize nominee on LGBT lessons

Spielman says youngsters should know 'there are families that have two mummies or two daddies'

Ofsted chief Amanda Spielman has backed Global Teacher Prize nominee Andrew Moffat over LGBT lessons

Ofsted's chief inspector has backed a teacher in the running for a global prize who is at the centre of a sex education storm.

Andrew Moffat, who has made the final of the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize, saw protests erupt outside Parkfield Community School in Birmingham after parents took issue with him teaching about same-sex relationships at the primary.

But Ofsted chief Amanda Spielman said it was important for children to learn about all aspects of society.

She told the BBC that youngsters should know that "there are families that have two mummies or two daddies".

Nominee: British teacher up for Global Teacher Prize

Winner: British teacher wins $1m global award

Long read: My year as a million-dollar teacher

"It's about making sure that children who do happen to realise that they themselves may not fit a conventional pattern know that they're not bad or ill," she added.

Spielman: LGBT lessons are important

Ms Spielman said a "middle ground" needed to be explored, but lessons covering LGBT topics were important.

Christian and Muslim parents have claimed that lessons at Parkfield promote the personal beliefs of Mr Moffat, who is gay.

They also argue that the classes, part of the PSHE (personal, social, health and economic education) teacher's No Outsiders programme, are against their religion.

The scheme, which has put the assistant head among the 10 teachers in contention for the $1 million Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2019, also teaches about gender identity.

In a video announcing the finalists, Hollywood star Hugh Jackman paid tribute to teachers as "real superheroes".

He said: "When I was a kid there were lots of superheroes that I wanted to be. But I can tell you right now, from where I stand, with all my experience, the real superheroes are teachers – they're the ones that change the world."

At Mr Moffat's school, more than nine in 10 students speak English as an additional language and his No Outsiders programme also teaches inclusiveness and diversity.

He told the BBC that parents who disagreed with it had been sending him threats and "nasty emails".

Mr Moffat also runs the Parkfield Ambassadors after-school club, which creates opportunities for children at the school – where 99 per cent of pupils are Muslim – to meet people from different races, religions and cultures around Birmingham.

The winner of the Global Teacher Prize will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on 24 March.

The other nine finalists teach in Georgia, Brazil, the Netherlands, India, America, Argentina, Australia, Japan and Kenya.

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you