Safeguarding: Where has it gone so wrong?

The Protect and Teach Team (left to right) Jenny Dingsdale, Julie, Jennifer, Cathy Mudge, Gillian Blick

Cathy Mudge of Protect and Teach reports

Protect and Teach’s first public meeting was in May, Bristol this year, 2024.  We had come a long way from a group of five women, meeting up occasionally and involved, as volunteers, with Women’s Rights Network and Standing For Women. We decided to research equality policies in all Devon, Dorset, and Cornwall schools, carefully analysed the results and shared them with the Telegraph’s Hayley Dixon, who published three articles focussed on our findings

Misrepresenting the Equalities Act

In October 2023, while campaigning against a Unisex sports centre changing room, we came across the Intercom Trust. Delving into this national LGBTQ+ charity, particularly active in schools, soon became our main preoccupation.  This led to an introduction to Stephen who had started analysing all the Bristol and Bath school’s equality policies and was finding that not only were they drafted incorrectly, but that they were altering them to suit their own purposes. Among the serious faults for which they were responsible were improper disciplinary policies for alleged transphobia, as well as encouraging children as young as 5 to understand that they could be born in the wrong body. By January this year we had expanded the research to cover the entire South West and completed most schools by the Spring. 

To say we were shocked was an understatement. The Equality Act was misrepresented by 70%; 60% were adding a multitude of genders into school policies, and 50% were supplementing the official curriculum with gender ideology. This found its way into assemblies, and invitations to politicised, partisan LGBTQ+ groups to classrooms. We also found these groups were receiving substantial grants from the Lottery fund, Children in Need and the government.

Next Steps

Our next step was to start writing letters to these schools, pointing out our findings and asking them to correct or withdraw policies. This culminated in our largest project, the Valuing all God’s Children (VAGC) guide for Church of England Schools, which we heavily criticised and sent to Church leaders. This had been noticeably influenced by Stonewall advisors and also received their financial support. 

Now working alongside Our Duty, Safe Schools Alliance, Parents for Education, Transgender Trend, Kellie Jay Keen, Sex Matters, and Women’s Rights Network we feel more confident than ever about the validity of our work and remain determined to continue probing.

We have a very active WhatsApp network that offers support and advocacy to parents with direct knowledge of these groups and infiltrated schools. Every day more hard facts are shared and examined. This allows us to include relevant references and corroborating evidence. Using the Protect and Teach name, we offer to visit the schools with well informed parents. 

Currently we have Freedom of Information requests pending for 10% of South West schools, seeking data for toilet provision, reported sexual assaults, Pride events and resources, and external groups invited to, or consulted by, each school.

All this information will help us plan how to refine our campaigning. It will also help understand how the huge amounts of money given to LGBTQ+ groups by the Lottery and local authorities, in our area alone, is being spent. Could it be related to the 210% increase in trans identifying children in the South West, their trans-friendly branded lunchtime school clubs, free counselling, Helplines from age of 9 years, and clubs for 12 to 25 year olds?

Before general election day, 4 July 2024, we will reveal the results of our correspondence with all candidates.  Quizzed on safeguarding, each candidate was asked to support 4 pledges. 

Will you pledge to support:

  • The findings of The Cass Review Final Report 2024 in full
  • The Gender Questioning Children Guidance for Schools, December 2023
  • The Relationships and Sex Education Review 2024 as statutory guidance
  • Full safeguarding of all children in accordance with Keeping Children Safe in Education 2024

Please support the work of Protect and Teach by visting their website and following on X/Twitter