Christian teacher who misgendered trans pupil was acting like a preacher, misconduct panel told

Photo of Christian teacher Joshua Sutcliffe wearing a turquoise top smiling as he stands in a countryside setting

A maths teacher accused of misgendering a trans student and inappropriately sharing his religious beliefs “failed to separate the teacher from the preacher”, a misconduct panel has heard.

Joshua Sutcliffe faces misconduct allegations from the UK’s Teacher Regulation Agency (TRA) – but denies all accusations.

He was suspended, and later fired, from The Cherwell School in Oxford in 2017 for using the wrong pronouns for a trans student (known as Pupil A) – something he later repeated on ITV’s This Morning programme.

At a teacher misconduct hearing in Coventry on Monday (27 February), TRA lawyer Andrew Cullen said Sutcliffe “prioritised his own interests above that of Pupil A”, The Guardian reported.

The Oxford Mail reports Cullen disputing the case was about censorship, but that Sutcliffe “failed to separate the preacher from the teacher”.

Christian Legal Centre lawyer Michael Phillips, representing Sutcliffe, told the panel the teacher should not be compelled to say something he did not agree with.

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“There is no evidence it was in Pupil A’s best interest to have preferred pronouns used. It was their wish but it doesn’t follow there was ethical justification for this.”

Phillips added there was no evidence Sutcliffe had denied Pupil A their education or harassed them, with Sutcliffe claiming he only misgendered the student once in their presence and apologised, the outlet reported.

In relation to allegations of Sutcliffe stating same-sex marriage was wrong during a maths lesson, the teacher claimed it was instead during a Bible group he had set up.

Evangelical teacher Joshua Sutcliffe was represented by the Christian Legal Centre
Evangelical teacher Joshua Sutcliffe appeared on ITV to talk about his dismissal. (Credit: This Morning)

He was also dismissed from St Aloysius’ in north London, in November 2019, over a video on his YouTube channel where he states Muslims had a “false understanding of God”.

With the panel hearing how a number of Sutcliffe’s students interacted with the channel, and Sutcliffe telling students to “look out for the next video”, his lawyer said students would “often ask Sutcliffe questions about his views and maybe go as far as to goad him“.

The final witness at Monday’s hearing was so-called ‘gender-critical’ activist Maya Forstater, who told the panel that schools should avoid implementing trans-affirming policies for students who identify as the opposite sex.

She said compelling students and school staff to use preferred pronouns was asking them to “take part in a belief system” they might not agree with.

Her argument directed towards gender-affirming surgeries, saying: ”If a child socially transitions in school, if they are accepted and treated as really the opposite sex, then that creates demand for that child to then have medical treatment.

“Schools with the best intentions can lock children into a pathway that is going to lead them doing harm to their bodies which can’t be undone.”

The misconduct hearing is set to resume on 3 May.

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