13th Jul, 2020

Same-sex couple from Droitwich accuse Worcester headteacher of ignoring equality laws

A ROW has broken out between a same-sex couple from Droitwich and a Worcester school headteacher with the pair accusing him of ignoring equality laws.

The pair went to view the River School between Fernhill Heath and Claines with their daughter who is due to move into year eight next year.

Rebekah said after viewing the classrooms, the outdoor area and seeing an assembly, they spoke to Mr Parsonage and asked him if he had any other same-sex couples.

One parent claimed he said ‘no’ but would ‘speak to other teachers about the problem’.

She added she told him there ‘was no problem’ and claimed he said he expected parents and students to respect the school’s views and ethos that ‘relationships should be between a man and a woman’, adding they were his views and how the children were taught.

“We challenged him, saying what about the one in three statistics regarding homosexuality.

“I was dumfounded, in shock and upset for my child.

“I had to leave without saying any more due to the fact I didn’t wish to embarrass my child and told Mr Parsonage this school wouldn’t be for us, as we believed in people being different and being inclusive of others.

“He didn’t flinch and told our child that he wished her well.”

She said his actions were against the law, breaching the Equality Act 2010.

But Mr Parsonage refuted the claims and said there had been a ‘misunderstanding’

“The school did not describe, has never described and will not describe a child with same-sex parents, or the admission of such a child into the school as a ‘problem’.

“We accept children of different backgrounds, faiths and beliefs which is reflected in our school policies.

“We do not discriminate against families with differing values or beliefs but follow the normal admission process with all applications.

“For the avoidance of doubt: admission is open to families with same-sex parents.”

He added The River School, like all faith schools, had a legal duty to teach in line with Christian principles.

“The River School teaches about ethical, social and moral issues from this standpoint while respecting the freedom of pupils to discuss and debate such matters.

“The school upholds and promotes British values, Prevent and are very conscious of treating everyone with respect.”

He said the school had been in touch with the couple on October 9 and offered her the chance meet with the Chair of Trustees, as advised by the LEA and Ofsted.

The school’s policies were available at www.riverschool.co.uk, he added.

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