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Protests against LGBT equality lessons resume after summer holidays

Credit: ITV Central

Organisers of protests against LGBT equality lessons at a Birmingham school say "we'll be back" today.

Protest coordinator Shakeel Afsar said the campaign against Anderton Park School in Sparkhill would resume in a bid to get the school to stop telling pupils "it's okay to be gay".

He claimed 'lots' of parents had or were planning to withdraw their children because of the school's continued stance on LGBT teaching.

He said: "We were intending not to resume the protests but the head teacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson recently tweeted an image of more LGBT books she had got for the school.

"I was inundated with calls from angry parents who saw this as provocative, so we will be back again on Friday."

The tweet in question sees headteacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson thank a fellow school that had made a 'beyond generous' donation of books to Anderton Park.

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Hewitt-Clarkson has repeatedly called on ministers, including new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to support their equality teaching.

In some of his first remarks on the subject since being appointed Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson also said "we shouldn't be seeing protests outside any schools."

The primary school, in Dennis Road, was the scene of regular protests right outside the gates from April, including an instance where safety fears due to the protests caused the school to close early.

As a result the school and Birmingham City Council sought and won a temporary high court injunction that created an exclusion zone in the streets around the school.

A full trial to determine whether the temporary exclusion zone should become permanent will be heard in the High Court in the week beginning October 14.

The protests will resume despite the campaigners learning that a GoFundMe page set up to raise money to defend the legal action was shut down amid claims it breached the site's rules.

Credit: ITV Central

"We are working closely with the schools and giving support to teachers and parents. That is very much a work in progress."

"Currently, we have an interim injunction in place and we will be back to the High Court in the middle of October.

"I want this committee to understand that we are working extremely hard to obtain the best possible outcome for schools, teachers, support staff and parents.

"In the next 12 months we have a new curriculum aspect coming in with relation to sex education which I think most people support.

"But we are likely to continue to be faced with those who don't agree with the equalities agenda and those who want to challenge and we have to be ready and make sure we've got everything in place and the support mechanisms in place for the schools and parents to address those issues."

– Councillor Jayne Francis

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