In late June 2021, my wife and I were banned by the Chair of Governors from entering the premises of our daughter’s primary school. The ban followed an investigation by myself into what appeared to be some fairly under-hand methods used by the school to get the RSHE curriculum passed by the Board of Governors in our local Church of England primary school, bypassing proper consultation with parents.
Our ordeal began in mid-June, 2021, with an invitation from the school’s Head Teacher to take part in a 1hr online consultation. The main purpose of the event was to “answer all our questions” as to what sort of RSHE material we could expect the Board of Governors to approve, later in July.
Although the school is of a moderate size, very few parents actually logged on for the webinar: apparently, most were unaware that it was even happening. Altogether, there were only around six parents present, and the Head talked us through the Jigsaw document, which outlined the new educational material to be used for all children. In addition, the content of the school newsletter gave us the strong overall impression that the only policy difference next year would be the introduction of some basic elements of biological reproduction, taught through the statutory science curriculum, from which there is no right of parental withdrawal. On the surface, this seems reasonable; it’s difficult to imagine that many parents would want to withdraw their child from what amounts to a few biology lessons.
The session was followed by questions, but I had only one. The Jigsaw document had many images included in the Relationship section and at least three of them were of couples: two same-sex and one transgender couple, but no straight couples, as far as we could tell. My question went something like this: “Why do you consider it acceptable for the teaching at a Church of England primary school to be normalising same-sex and transgender relationships, to the obvious exclusion of heterosexual marriage, when alternative marriages are not officially permitted or recognised in the Church of England?”.
I received an answer from the headteacher along the lines of “I am actively in agreement with making these relationships integral to the new curriculum”. Following this, a Muslim couple raised concerns about how these ideas had already been introduced in a Year 5 class lesson a few weeks earlier, which, they said, had really upset their son. In response, we were told to submit any further queries via an online form as soon as possible, and we were assured that they would be presented at the next meeting of the Board of Governors, when there would be a final vote on what form the adoption of the RSHE curriculum should take.
All this happened in mid-to-late June. After puzzling over what had happened, I decided to prepare a letter for the next governor’s meeting, summarising the concerns of many of the parents we had spoken to. However, in order to be fully informed about all the issues, I began a fairly intense period of wider research, so that by the time I submitted the letter, plus a brief critique of the intended use of printed materials to encourage gender fluidity and transgender identity, it was nearly time for the meeting, which took place in the last week of the summer term.
I needn’t have bothered. The motion to follow the LGBTQ agenda was reportedly carried unanimously, and there was no consideration given to parents’ concerns at all.
On that same day, we attended an online parents’ evening with our daughter’s main reception class teacher. The meeting was short, polite and involved no controversial subjects. We raised no concerns, despite the fact that this particular teacher had been pursuing a gender-activist line with her class since April, telling them that: “girls can marry girls”, “two men can have a baby together, if they want” and “pink is for boys, not just for girls”. Furthermore, she had unilaterally taken the decision to introduce such topics before the RSHE consultation process had even started. However, we had no intention of raising any complaint against this particular teacher.
The day after the parents’ evening my wife picked up our five year old from her classroom as usual, but decided to take a couple of minutes to thank the teacher for her efforts during the year and also to reassure her that nothing we had written was directed at her personally, but was rather a criticism of the DfE’s new policies, and designed to stimulate discussion. From her subsequent reaction, it became clear she had not been informed of our concerns.
Within 12hrs, we received an aggressive email from the Chair of the Governors, informing us that we were now banned from the school premises and that he was considering taking legal advice from the school’s solicitors. Our offence? My wife talking to the reception teacher had allegedly triggered a total emotional meltdown, so much so that the “traumatized lady” had had to go home by taxi!
This puzzling scenario taught me a lot in a very short time. In 2020s Britain, if you dare even question the silent tyranny of wokeness, or raise the most reasonable of concerns about its impact on your children, then you need to be prepared for a life-shaking battle ahead, and that is what we were now about to face.
…to be continued