Trans students could be banned from single-sex schools under leaked Tory guidance 

School children

Single-sex schools in England will be allowed to refuse to accept trans pupils under new education guidance due to be issued by the Conservative government, it has been suggested. 

Under the guidance from the Department for Education, schools and headteachers will be legally protected if they choose to reject a trans girl from joining an all-girls school or a trans boy from joining an all-boys school. 

Schools will be reassured that their decisions will not breach the Equality Act. 

However, according to a report by The Telegraph, there is no suggestion that a pupil who already attends a single-sex school will be forced to leave if they question their gender identity. 

Guidance on trans pupils in schools – currently being drawn up by education secretary Gillian Keegan and equalities minister Kemi Badenoch – is slated to be published this summer. 

It is expected to apply to all state and independent schools in England. 

You may like to watch

As reported by The Telegraph, a Department for Education source said: “Single-sex schools can refuse to admit pupils of the other legal sex regardless of whether the child is questioning their gender.”

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has previously said he has personal “concerns” about “parental consent” and believes the upcoming guidance will provide detailed rules about when schools “must inform parents about their children questioning their gender”.

Schools which reject trans pupils will not breach the Equality Act, leaks suggest (Pexels)

Labour leader Keir Starmer came under fire at the beginning of April for making similar comments.

“Look, of course I’d want to know. I say that as a parent. I would want to know and I think the vast majority of parents would want to know,” he said.

It comes as other leaks from the guidance, as reported by The Sunday Times, suggest teachers will be forced to ‘out’ trans, non-binary and gender diverse pupils to their parents. 

Several ‘triggers’ are cited as part of the guidance, including pupils using different names and/or pronouns at school or wearing different types of clothes. 

A source quoted by The Sunday Times said that “wearing a skirt to school, using a different name, all of those things, are consequential; they are not a neutral thing to do”.

They added: “As someone responsible for safeguarding, you have a duty to tell the parents.”

The report published on Sunday (16 April) also suggests trans pupils will be banned from using changing rooms and shower facilities which match their gender, while trans girls will be barred from taking part in contact and competitive sports on girls’ teams. 

The guidance was quickly blasted by LGBTQ+ activists and teachers, who noted the danger posed to children by outing them to their families without knowing their full home situation.

LGBTQ+ pupils need safeguarding, charity says

One teacher from London, Matt Adams, described the potential move by the government as “dangerous”. 

“Teachers and schools do not have all the information about every child’s home environment, and instead of supporting a pupil to be themselves in school, we could be putting them at risk of harm,” Adams told PinkNews.

Stonewall said the government’s aim to create comprehensive guidance for teachers and school staff should not be “fueled” by a “cynical attempt to stoke a politically motivated ‘culture war’”. 

“Any moves to shut trans people out of common spaces represent an appalling rollback on trans people’s well-established rights. We know that young people face unprecedentedly rising abuse against their sexual orientation and gender identity while trans people across the country are scared and targeted with rapidly rising hate. 

“We need to prioritise creating LGBTQ+ inclusive environments that will protect and safeguard LGBTQ+ pupils, which this proposed solution doesn’t seem to be doing,” the charity said.