Sacked Christian teaching assistant wins appeal

UK Christian school pastoral assistant Kristie Higgs, who was fired from her position at her local secondary school following a personal Facebook post, has successfully appealed against a tribunal’s decision that upheld her dismissal.

The controversy began when Mrs Higgs voiced her concerns about mandatory sex education lessons at her son’s Church of England primary school in a social media post online. Mrs Higgs was concerned that the lessons, which promote LGBT relationships, same-sex marriage, and gender fluidity, were inappropriate for young children, especially in a Christian school. She was reported to her headteacher by an anonymous person who had seen her post.

According to Christian Concern:

Kristie was told that her private posts could ‘[bring] the school into disrepute’ and was subsequently sacked from her position.

The Employment Tribunal originally ruled that Kristie had not suffered from discrimination or harassment. This was later overturned by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in June 2023, “ruling that the tribunal had not adequately considered Kristie’s freedom of belief and expression”.

Mrs Higgs, backed by the Christian Legal Centre, welcomed the result in the appeal but expressed frustration over the prolonged wait for justice. She emphasised that the case had always revolved around her Christian beliefs and perceived discrimination against expressing these beliefs in her own time.

Mrs Higgs said:

I have been punished for sharing concerns about Relationships and Sex Education. I hold these views because of my Christian beliefs, beliefs and views which are shared by hundreds of thousands of parents across the UK. My number one concern has always been the effect that learning about sex and gender in school will have on children at such a young age.

Following the ruling, Mrs Higgs said:

Christian parents must have the freedom to bring their children up in line with their Christian beliefs. I want young children to be protected from transgender ideology and Christians must also be able to share their opinions and beliefs without fear of losing their jobs.

The case highlights the importance of defending people of faith when they experience discrimination on the basis of their religious views. 

The work of HRLA in defending the rights of ordinary people of faith who are being silenced, censored and fired for expressing their faith in public has never been more important.

Read more about the work of HRLA here.