High Court judge bans protesters from outside primary school in LGBT teaching row


Protests against LGBT equality education have been permanently banned from outside a primary school.

Mr Justice Warby said Anderton Park School sought to “weave the language of equality into everyday life”. Picture: Valentin Kundeus/Adobe Stock
Mr Justice Warby said Anderton Park School sought to “weave the language of equality into everyday life”. Picture: Valentin Kundeus/Adobe Stock

A High Court judge has ruled in favour of an exclusion zone to remain in place outside Anderton Park School in Birmingham, following months of demonstrations against the teaching of LGBT education.

Birmingham Council said the noisy protests disrupted lessons and made the playground unusable for children.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said the judgment “makes it abundantly clear that the school gate is no place to hold a protest”.

During a hearing at Birmingham’s Priory Court today, Mr Justice Warby said the protests had adverse effects on staff and pupils.

Protesters had claimed the content of lessons surrounding LGBT education was “not age appropriate” and contradicted their Islamic faith during a five-day hearing in October.

Mr Warby branded such allegations “untrue” and said the school sought to “weave the language of equality into everyday life”.

An emergency interim injunction, banning campaigners from protesting outside the school, was made in June. It was today made permanent against defendants Shakeel Afsar, Rosina Afsar and Amir Ahmed and one “persons unknown”.

An injunction against abusive statements made on social media was not made permanent.

Birmingham Council welcomed the ruling.

Dr Tim O’Neill, director of education and skills, said: "This was always about protecting the school and community from the escalating levels of antisocial behaviour of the protests, not about trying to stop peaceful protest.

"As this court case has demonstrated, there remains a gap between the reality of what is and isn’t being taught at the school. Protests of this kind only serve to attract fringe elements whose aim is to stoke division and hatred. We would therefore continue to encourage any concerned parents to engage with the school to have constructive discussions and address any issues.”

The council said a consultation would be held with parents over any concerns about the introduction of mandatory relationships education by the Department of Education next year.

Whiteman said the lessons would help “children from all backgrounds understand the society they are growing up in, and foster respect for others and for difference”.