New Truro faith school will not teach gay 'nonsense'
DEFENDERS of Cornwall's new faith secondary school have hit back at critics' "orchestrated attack to undermine" it.
Supporters and representatives argued there was a need for St Michael's Catholic free school as a place to teach moral values.
Wallace Simmons, the grandfather of a former student, called a meeting with governor Joyce Sanderson, Father Chris Findlay, priest at the church associated with the school at Camborne, and the West Briton in response to criticism over its funding from the Government as it prepares to open next week.
Formerly St Michael's Catholic Small School in Truro, it is now the UK's first Catholic free secondary, funded directly from the Government, rather than through the local education authority.
The school was dubbed an "ideological gimmick" by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and local politicians and a head teacher criticised the £4.5 million being spent to extend it, despite 600 available places at secondaries in the Camborne, Pool and Redruth area.
This week Mr Wallace called the criticism an "orchestrated attack to undermine the school".
"The whole population is taught that homosexuality is fine and children should accept they can have two mums or dads but they should not be taught that nonsense. It is not right," Mr Simmons said.
"Schools are not teaching basic family values and that mum and dad are the heads of the family and that's how it should be.
"There are so many problems in schools today where basic family values are not taught and it is OK for Jack to marry Jack and not Jill.
"The morals of this country should not be dragged down."
Mrs Sanderson was quick to reassure that the school would not discriminate over sexuality, but said those students from homosexual backgrounds were expected to respect Catholic values on family life.
"Gays would be welcome to this school," she said, "but we would not encourage it.
"We want to know they (children) are happy to follow our teaching and that's crucial. We do not wish to make children unhappy and refer to their home circumstances.
"I think those people who declare their views are entitled to express them as much as I am entitled to do so.
"The school follows the teaching of Catholic values and treatment (of children) is charitable.
"We lay down what you should try to follow but how people follow it is their business."
The school also assured it had a good track record and something positive to offer to the community.
Father Findlay said Catholic education was not a gimmick but a "strong brand" and "something many people value".
He added: "We have our own ethos and approach to school. We have a clear understanding about the human person and how a person fits into the society including everything from marriage, work- place, family life, self-discipline and clarity of moral values."