The teaching of LGBT relationships in primary schools has led to weeks of protest in Birmingham. The school head caught in the crossfire between demonstrators and the law tells of the stress endured as a result of her desire to promote equality

Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson is crying. The headteacher at Anderton Park primary school in Birmingham has suffered eight weeks of protests outside her school gates over her decision to teach LGBT-inclusive content to her young pupils, the vast majority of whom are Muslim. After repeatedly putting on a brave face when I ask her how she is feeling, she finally admits: “I am in despair”, and then breaks down. She is struggling for control as she continues: “I know one of the phrases that’s associated with domestic abuse is the crushing of the spirit of a woman. And that’s what I feel is happening. We can’t give in.”

Her voice trembles with emotion. She has been having sleepless nights, she says, worrying about the impact of the protests on her staff and pupils, and has received threatening messages telling her to “watch her back”.

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Read More ‘We can’t give in’: the Birmingham school on the frontline of anti-LGBT protests

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