Hackney Labour has confirmed that “no matters related to the curriculum” were discussed at a recent meeting between the council’s education boss and an activist who supported the Birmingham protests against LGBT+ equality lessons.
Cllr Anntoinette Bramble (Lab, London Fields), deputy mayor and cabinet member for education, was recently at the forefront of a council drive to ensure robust support for LGBT+ young people.
This followed a council review on the topic undertaken in the context of what Bramble described as “disturbing scenes in Birmingham”.
However, questions were raised as to the purpose of a meeting last week between Bramble, local MP Diane Abbott and prominent Rabbi and community leader Herschel Gluck with anti-LGBT education activist Shraga Stern in attendance.
Speaking to Metro last week, the Jewish Labour Movement described Stern as “divisive”, and warned that Labour politicians meeting with him would “serve to alienate many in the LGBT+ community, especially LGBT+ Jews”.
Protests took place outside Parkfield School in Birmingham this year, attempting to prevent the inclusion of storybooks and lessons about gay relationships, which Stern took part in.
Stern was recorded saying at the time: “This problem of indoctrination and sexualising kids doesn’t start at Parkfield School, it goes all over the country.
“It’s Ofsted, it’s the Department for Education. It’s all over the education system that these LGBT lobbies have come into the education system.
“We parents must stand up for our rights, fight for our freedom of religion, and freedom to educate children the way we were educated.”
Bramble has now confirmed that neither she nor Abbott attended to discuss education policy with Stern, but were in attendance as part of a “meet and greet” with representatives of the Charedi community while a separate meeting was taking place with council officers over potential new premises for a school.
A Hackney Labour spokesperson said: “Diane and Anntoinette met with the representatives who were there, shook their hands and greeted them, and left.
“No matters related to the curriculum were discussed at all. A meeting was being held about school premises, but they weren’t there to discuss that either.
“The two met with the representatives who were there, shook their hands and greeted them and left.”
Bramble said back in September: “In Hackney, we know how important inclusivity and tolerance are to a supportive school environment, to the vast majority of our residents and to the borough’s reputation as a beacon of diversity where all of our communities are supported and celebrated.
“There is a wide range of excellent work within Hackney schools to help foster pupil wellbeing and develop character and personal attributes that are fundamental to pupils being happy, successful and productive members of society.”