Single sex schools ‘failing in their legal duties to accommodate transgender pupils’

The Independent reports that transgender pupils are being refused admission by schools or made to feel ‘anxious’ and ‘unsupported’ in the classroom.

Single-sex schools are failing in their legal duties to accommodate transgender pupils, according to leading charities that specialise in supporting transgender children.

Susie Green, CEO of Mermaids UK, told The Independent a growing number of same-sex schools are refusing to admit transgender pupils, despite this being discriminatory under the Equality Act 2010. The Act does not require someone to undergo medical treatment, one only has to “propose to undergo” gender reassignment, which could potentially include social transitioning, such as being called by another name.

Ms Green said that although a lot of schools were devoting significant time to understanding gender diversity with encouraging results, others were struggling to keep pace with the increasing number of out transgender pupils. 

Labour MP and member of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, Tracy Brabin, admitted the picture remained mixed. One school, she said, had been “exemplary”, changing names on registers and accommodating changes in bathroom usage and games lessons.

Ms Brabin said that problems often arose from a lack of knowledge around the law and gender reassignment. She called on schools to “take the initiative to inform and educate”, adding that the ECHR “must provide greater clarity” on the law.

In February St Paul’s Girls’ School in London introduced a “gender identity protocol”, allowing pupils to use boys’ names and wear boys’ clothes should they wish to, but the school maintained that it was “only able to educate students who are legally and physically female.”

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, the only NHS centre for children and adolescents with gender-identity issues in England and Wales, received 1,419 referrals in 2015-16, up from 468 just two years previously.

Read more Single sex schools ‘failing in their legal duties to accommodate transgender pupils’

How easy is it to accommodate these changes in a school? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter ~ Tamsin

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