A headteacher at the helm of a controversial school has sparked outrage today after revealing she has banned teachers from using phrases including, ‘boys and girls.’
Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson from Anderton Park primary in Moseley, Birmingham, has stopped teachers from using terms including, ‘let’s go, guys’, ‘man up’, ‘grow a pair’ and ‘boys and girls’.
Students as young as three are taught to hold up posters flagging ‘sexist’ terms and the two pupils who find the best examples are rewarded with certificates at the end of the week.
But the ‘absolutely ridiculous’ scheme has prompted a backlash among parents and critics.
Broadcaster Nana Akua told Good Morning Britain today: ‘I’d be very worried if this woman was teaching my kids. What I think we’re doing here is creating a generation of wallflower kids who are listening for an offence.’
And Chris McGovern, a former primary school head and now chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, told MailOnline: ‘This is about adults who have a neuroses about gender and are hoisting their own anxieties onto the shoulders of young children.
‘By trying to correct a children’s language at a very early age, one is actually limiting, restraining and burdening them with an anxiety they don’t need.
‘This is an attempt to control language, which is a very sinister development. It is part of a woke philosophy across education, an unstoppable tsunami of Wokeism.’
More than 80 per cent of pupils on the roll at Anderton Primary are Muslim, and two years ago the school shot to national attention when parents stormed the gates in a furious protest about lessons on same-sex families.
Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson from Anderton Park primary in Moseley, Birmingham (pictured) has stopped teachers from using terms including, ‘let’s go, guys’, ‘man up’, ‘grow a pair’ and ‘boys and girls’
Two years ago, parents staged a series of demonstration against the controversial ‘No Outsiders’ curriculum programme at Anderton Park Primary School
Mother-of-two bugle-playing philosophy graduate who took on the Trojan Horse scandal and anti-LGBT protesters
Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson shot to national attention two year ago when parents of her pupils stormed the school gates in a furious protest about lessons on same-sex families.
A mother of two teenage daughters Gretel, 17, and Kitty, 14, she has been at the helm of the Birmingham since 2012.
In 2015 the 50-year-old addressed the annual conference of the National Association of Headteachers in Liverpool and spoke about the climate of ‘fear and intimidation still prevalent’ in Birmingham in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal, which exposed attempts by militant Muslims to infiltrate state schools to impose an Islamic agenda.
Since her appointment in 2012, Mrs Hewitt-Clarkson has fought a running battle with hardline governors and parents who tried to undermine her and the ethos of Anderton Park (some Muslim children, for example, were discouraged by their parents from playing with white pupils).
She lives with her daughters and partner Mark Brodermann and told the National Association of Head Teachers that she, ‘grew up in a home filled with music, Methodists teachings, a Head Teacher father, and love of Shakespeare.’
She said she was a ‘bugle-playing, church band member busting out a tune.’
Speaking on Good Morning Britain today, Ms Hewitt-Clarkson said ‘sexist’ language was damaging to children.
She told the show: ‘Fast forward a little bit to when the children are older just to see why this is so important because it’s a tiny part of a huge jigsaw.
‘We’ve seen in the last year the biggest ever rise in child abuse, in grooming, and if our boys and girls grow up and in school we don’t challenge this sexist language and boys are told, ‘man up’, ‘grow a pair’, ‘don’t cry’, ‘boys don’t cry’ – it’s very damaging for them and abusers later on potentially, or bullies, people they walk past on the way home from school – will also use this fear.
‘And fear is the biggest weapon that abusers have and if boys are told, ‘boys aren’t afraid’, ‘boys don’t get scared’, ‘boys don’t talk about their feelings’, then where are they going to go when they are afraid and they are frightened?’
But the revelation sparked a heated debate on social media, with one parent tweeting: ‘I’d quite like school to teach my kids to read and write etc. I don’t need them wasting time on banning phrases like ‘morning guys’. Far too much time and energy wasted on ridiculous things.’
Another wrote: ‘I am a teacher and think this is ridiculous. Concentrate on reading, writing and maths with the boys and girls.’
And broadcaster Nana Akua claimed the move was ‘absolutely ridiculous’.
She told GMB: ‘To be honest, I’d be very worried if this woman was teaching my kids.
‘What I think we’re doing here is dissecting language in the most clinical form and then creating a generation of wallflower kids who are listening for an offence.
‘I go to schools and I lecture in schools and I talk to the kids – can you imagine if I went to her school and said, ‘good morning guys’?
‘It is getting to the point where we are losing a grip here. We need to be looking at the context of language and that’s what I’ll be teaching my children.
‘To say ‘good morning guys’ if you’re actually seriously picking that apart then I feel that perhaps your energy is in the wrong place.
‘Really we should be teaching kids the context of language and how to use language that is non offensive.
If you take something out of a context and dissect all the bits and pieces you will find yourself in a black hole so let’s take the word ‘mankind’ – does she allow that?’
Protests against Ms Hewitt-Clarkson in 2015 saw a dead dog strung up on the railings at the entrance to her school and dismembered cats thrown on the playground.
A death threat sent to her on social media around the same time read: ‘Any headteacher who teaches my children it’s alright to be gay will be at the end of my shotgun.’
Former headteacher Chris McGovern told MailOnline: ‘This is burdening children with adult responsibilities. But it is very cruel to burden children with the problems that adults have.
‘Children treat each other, generally speaking, fairly and with much less hang ups and with much less prejudice than adults.
‘Adults are inclined to think that because they see the world as a complicated place, children will too.’
The scheme has sparked a backlash among parents and critics and a heated debate on social media
Mr McGovern added: ‘But children will become confused. If children use what is considered to be a sexist term, they don’t mean any offence by it. But they’re then told they are carrying offensive guilt with them.
‘They need to take a lesson from Pink Floyd and ‘leave the kids alone.’
‘Teachers should teach their subjects and tell children to treat other people as you wish to be treated – indeed, that is the golden rule of all religions – and that is all they need.
Former headteacher Chris McGovern said: ‘This is burdening children with adult responsibilities’
‘This only confuses them and can be very upsetting not only to the children, but to their parents who see their children brainwashed into woke political correctness.
‘Children are no longer free to be children – they have to be products of a particularly woke philosophy.
‘Children are individuals, and we should treat them as individuals – they are not as malign as adults.
‘But this is demonising them – which is completely contrary to what education is all about. Why can’t we use the word guy? Guys and Dolls, Guy Fawkes. This is absurd and sinister.
‘What worries me the most is people can’t speak out in the profession because they’ll have their careers blighted. As a teacher starting out in your career, you have to endorse this nonsense.
‘It’s not healthy and is an unstoppable tide from the woke brigade. It is a very worrying situation.’
Two years ago, parents staged a series of demonstration against the controversial ‘No Outsiders’ curriculum programme at Anderton Park Primary School.
The aim of the No Outsiders program was teach students about the positive values of diversity, tolerance and acceptance, as well as LGBT rights, same-sex relationships, gender identity, race, religion and colour.
More than 80 per cent of the pupils at Anderton primary are Muslim.
They handed out leaflets that declared ‘We DO NOT believe in homosexuality. Parents do NOT want their children’s belief changed.’
Others read, ‘This programme promotes a whole-school gay ethos’ and ‘You can’t be gay and Muslim’.