Joanna Williams Joanna Williams

Playgrounds are no place for Pride parades

(Credit: Getty images)

Parents standing at the school gate have all kinds of hopes and expectations. They want their children to be happy, well looked-after and to learn something. Thankfully, most teachers agree. But for some classroom activists, education is less about the three Rs and more about LGBTQ+. Rather than geography and history, they teach gender identity and sexuality. Instead of team sports, they might encourage ten-year-old girls who bind their chest to do something less energetic. And rather than Easter bonnet parades there are Pride marches. That’s right. Playground Pride Parades. For four year-olds.

Back in 2018, the head teacher of Heavers Farm Primary School in south east London decided to line her tiny charges up for an LGBT pride march. A letter sent home to parents explained the drill was about ‘celebrating the differences that make you and your child’s family special’.

One brave mother, Izzy Montague, objected to her young son’s forced inclusion in the march

Everyone loves rainbows and flags and celebrations and being special. But you don’t need a degree in Queer Theory to work out what’s really going on here. Tiny children, barely more than toddlers, are being taught that some families have two mums, or two dads, or a parent who was once a daddy but is now a mummy. It isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine them being told that they too might have been born in the wrong body and, even though they were told by wicked doctors they were a boy, are really a girl. And all this is perfectly normal. Something to celebrate, in fact.

One brave mother, Izzy Montague, objected to her young son’s forced inclusion in the march. When she was told by the school’s head teacher that her child could not be excused from the event, she complained. What happened next manages, incredibly, to be even more bizarre than the spectacle of playground Pride. 

Rather than smoothing things over, the head teacher hauled Mrs Montague into school for a lecture – about Stonewall, women’s rights and black civil rights. Mrs Montague – who happens to be black – claims she was told we should ‘thank the Lord’ for Stonewall because, otherwise, she would not have been able to attend the school. This is as inaccurate as it is insulting: the offence compounded by the head teacher’s daughter, who also works at the school and who apparently attended the meeting, wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan: ‘Why be racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic when you could just be quiet?’.

Mrs Montague, a devout Christian, is now suing the school in what is believed to be the first case to assess the legality of LGBT+ teachings and compulsory activities in primary schools. You don’t need to be a Christian or even a mother to wish the Montagues every success. Schools need to be in the business of education, not indoctrination. Whether they recognise it or not, making four year-olds participate in Pride parades falls very much into the latter category. 

Children are being used as a captive audience for the political views of their teachers before they are old enough and wise enough to know what’s happening. The very fact parents object to such ‘lessons’ shows that what schools are dealing in is not accepted truths or new cultural norms, but highly politicised and contested ideas. Rather than socialising children into the ways of adult society, some teachers are engineering them into thinking differently from their parents.

Unfortunately, the head teacher of Heavers Farm Primary School is not alone in assuming the role of schools is to indoctrinate children into paying homage to Pride and celebrating the achievements of Stonewall. As I wrote on Coffee House last year, the truth about trans teaching in schools is that it is endemic. Teaching about gender identity and sexuality is not simply the domain of activist teachers on a mission to convert, but accepted as best practice in schools up and down the country. What’s more, this ideology is not only promoted through extra-curricular activities – like playground Pride marches – but it has become the substance of the school curriculum.

In Personal, Social, Health Education (PSHE) lessons, primary school children routinely learn about gender, gender identity and sexuality. To spell it out for the unenlightened adults, this requires an entirely new vocabulary encompassing: lesbian, gay, cisgender, transgender, sexual orientation, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, gender expression, biological sex, intersex, non-binary, gender fluid, pronouns, transition, gender dysphoria, questioning and queer. This is the curriculum – to be delivered by the ordinary classroom teacher, Ofsted-approved and government-condoned – not crusading activists.

Let’s hope Mrs Montague is successful in her legal challenge. And then let’s spare every child from classroom indoctrination.