As our recent poll of secondary teachers shows, 79% of schools have at least one child identifying as trans or non-binary. Teachers told us that they wanted guidance on how to manage this fast-growing challenge. But some also told us that their school policies put gender-questioning children outside standard safeguarding procedures.
Sex Matters, together with Transgender Trend, has produced guidance for schools based on the Equality Act and other relevant legislation. We take a whole-school approach, recognising the importance of biological sex, while supporting and safeguarding gender-distressed children.
This is an update on our guidance published last year. It has been revised to make the text as clear and simple as possible, and includes updated references to the law, statutory guidance and other official recommendations.
Our guidance relates to England but we will release versions for Scotland and Wales soon.
You can use our tool to send this guidance directly to a head teacher, SENCO, safeguarding lead or governor at your child’s school.
What is new in this guidance?
Over the past few months there have been several pieces of useful official guidance and research:
- the Department for Education has brought out new guidance emphasising schools’ duty to ensure political impartiality on controversial matters
- the Equality and Human Rights Commission has published guidance clarifying the law on single-sex spaces and services
- eminent paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass, who is leading an independent review of gender-identity services for children and young people, has published an interim report highlighting concerns about social transition for gender-confused children, and the lack of evidence for an affirmative treatment approach
- the Sports Councils Equality Group, which includes five of the biggest sports governing bodies, brought out Guidance for transgender inclusion in domestic sport, which concluded that the traditional sex categories are the only way to guarantee safety and fairness for female competitors.
All this work reinforces our recommendations for a whole-school approach to protect the rights of every pupil.