Trans guidance for UK schools pushed back until 2023, education secretary confirms

A trans flag and a school crossing sign

The Tory government has delayed guidance on helping UK teachers support trans children until 2023.

The Department of Education announced it would delay the draft guidance, which will inform UK schools on identifying and supporting trans children, until “early next year.”

Education secretary Gillian Keegan admitted during an education committee meeting that she hadn’t “seen any of it yet.”

“We completely understand the issue, the urgency, the sensitivity, the concern from parents and the concern that some teachers are also raising.”

During the meeting, she was also questioned about the nature of the guidance and whether she was listening to MPs who have reportedly made baseless assertions about teachers “indoctrinating” children, reports The Evening Standard.

“People have raised issues, but this is not every school I go into, [where] everyone is outraged with the materials that are being used. That’s not happening,” Keegan added.

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Speaking to PinkNews, a spokesperson for the Department of Education said: “We know this can be a complex and sensitive topic for schools to navigate. The Department is working towards providing guidance and we plan on consulting on a draft before final publication next year.”

Gillian Keegan, wearing a nevy blue suit, exits a black car to walk towards Number 10 Downing Street.
Gillian Keegan walks towards Number 10 Downing Street. (Getty)

The calls for more precise guidance come amid a claimed inconsistent “free for all” curriculum in schools, with an undefined policy and “ad hoc decisions” causing confusion in teaching subjects such as gender identity.

Additionally, pushback by anti-trans and so-called “gender-critical” groups has created animosity towards Keegan’s pro-trans views, with many urging the MP to publish a statement simply misgendering trans women.

Permanent education secretary Susan Acland-Hood clarified that a consultation on the guidance may begin “early next year,” but noted that the recent government re-shuffle following Liz Truss’ resignation has halted proceedings.

Gillian Keegan became the fifth education secretary in 2022 after being appointed in October,

Acland-Hood added that the department wants to give new MPs “a little bit of space to make sure they really have time to look at it and think about it.”

Gillian Keegan’s history of LGBTQ+ allyship

The latest education secretary is a surprisingly strong LGBTQ+ ally given her appointment by Rishi Sunak, who has routinely made anti-trans remarks.

In 2020, the MP issued a statement in support of trans rights on a local LGBTQ+ forum where she recognised the issues facing transgender people.

“Trans women are women and trans people deserve equal and fair access to healthcare, safe spaces, and opportunities, as well as to live their life with dignity,” she wrote.

Additionally, Keegan voted in favour of extending same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland during the 2019 vote.