Government’s trans school guidance promised by Christmas
The government’s trans guidance for schools is allegedly set to be published before Christmas.
The draft guidance has been promised for a number of years but has become hotly contested in recent months, with a number of leaks suggesting it could bring forth dangerous policies such as outing trans, non-binary and gender non-confirming pupils to their parents, a blanket ban on social transitioning and allowing single-sex schools to refuse trans children.
On Tuesday (31 October), The Telegraph reported that during a visit to an artificial intelligence consultancy firm in London, education secretary Gillian Keegan said: “We will get it out before Christmas. And then we’ll have a long consultation because I don’t want teachers to spend their Christmas worrying about it as much as I’ve spent most of the year worried about it.”
The draft guidance, if given to schools before Christmas, might not actually come into force until the spring as the government will have to consult on it before it is finalised.
Keegan, who has previously voiced support for outing trans pupils, added: “I know it’s much awaited, and I know everybody’s very keen to get it
“It’s a very tricky area. It is difficult. It is a consultation because we’re sure there’ll be lots of opinions around this as well.”
The government originally planned to release the draft guidance by the summer but, like the conversion therapy ban, the deadline came and went without the guidance materialising.
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The trans community, teaching unions and parents have express concern about what the guidance might entail once it is published.
Speaking with PinkNews earlier in the year, one teacher expressed deep worry about the potential of having to inform on pupils if they wear opposite gender clothes or begin to use a new name, especially if their parents are transphobic.
“There are so many vulnerable children in education who need so much support, so much help, and this just isn’t something that is frankly needed in the education system, at all,” she said.
“As a teacher, my number one priority is safeguarding and I can’t really understand how this has anything to do with safeguarding students.
“It seems to just be safeguarding Tory interests,” the teacher added.
Another teacher, who works in London, said: “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.
“It’s dangerous behaviour. It’s not solving a problem – it’s creating a problem.”
In response to the concerning leaks, Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the association of school and college leaders, said guidance for schools on trans pupils should be underpinned by “fairness, respect and safety” which treats trans pupils with “dignity”.
McCulloch added: “It is crucial that there is full consultation with school and college leaders and teachers in advance of publication to ensure the guidance is deliverable.
“A compassionate and practical set of guidelines to help schools navigate this sensitive territory, where every pupil is treated with dignity, is what is required.”
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