Government tells teachers they don’t have to address students in chosen pronouns

UK

The long-awaited transgender guidance for schools in England has been published by the government.

The main points from today’s developments include:
• Schools and colleges to be told that parents should be involved in decisions affecting their children
• Single-sex spaces must be protected for the safeguarding of all children
• A sea change in approach on social transition, with schools and colleges told they do not have to, and should not, accept all requests for social transition
• Parents and teachers urged to have their say in 12-week consultation

The document was meant to be published before the summer holidays, but was delayed to ensure it met the “high expectations” of teachers and parents.

Delays were described by education unions as frustrating, as it left schools in a difficult position.

Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan said: “This guidance puts the best interests of all children first, removing any confusion about the protections that must be in place for biological sex and single-sex spaces, and making clear that safety and safeguarding for all children must always be schools’ primary concern.

“Parents’ views must also be at the heart of all decisions made about their children – and nowhere is that more important than with decisions that can have significant effects on a child’s life for years to come.”

Minister for Women and Equalities, Kemi Badenoch said: “This guidance is intended to give teachers and school leaders greater confidence when dealing with an issue that has been hijacked by activists misrepresenting the law.

“It makes clear that schools do not have to accept a child’s request to socially transition, and that teachers or pupils should not be pressured into using different pronouns.

“We are also clear how vital it is that parents are informed and involved in the decisions that impact their children’s lives.”

More on Education

Speaking ahead of the publication of the draft, the prime minister’s spokesperson said it was a “complex area” and was right to “take the time to get this right”.

“We’ve said before our guiding principle is to ensure the protection of children, that any degree of social transitioning could have significant psychological effects on a child so it is vital that safeguards are in place. The guidance will reflect that,” the official said on Monday.

A spokesperson for LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall said: “This guidance… needs to first and foremost make sure that trans and gender-diverse youth are supported to be themselves and have an environment where they can learn and thrive.”

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