Attorney General: ‘Schools must not affirm children’s gender confusion’

Schools which affirm gender-confused children in their transgender identity may be breaking the law and could face sanctions, the Attorney General for England and Wales has said.

In a speech to the think tank Policy Exchange, Suella Braverman MP said that the UK does not operate a system which allows people to self-declare their legal sex, but that many organisations, particularly schools, are operating as if this is the case.

She said that under-18s should be considered to be their birth sex because they are not old enough to receive a gender recognition certificate, and so schools which allow children to ‘socially transition’ may be in breach of safeguarding duties, particularly if this is done without parental consent.

‘Education, not indoctrination’

Braverman said: “In my view, a primary school where they are teaching eight or nine year old pupils key words such as ‘transgender’ ‘pansexual’, ‘asexual’, ‘gender expression’, ‘intersex’, ‘gender fluid’, ‘gender dysphoria’ and ‘question your queer’ would be falling foul of government guidance. Nor is it age-appropriate to teach four-year-olds that people can change sex or gender”.

breaching their duty of impartiality and indoctrinating children into a one-sided and controversial view of gender

She continued: “In these instances, schools, who may be well-intentioned but misinformed, are breaching their duty of impartiality and indoctrinating children into a one-sided and controversial view of gender.”

The Attorney General said the Department for Education would soon be releasing guidance for schools that would make these points explicit.

The Christian Institute’s Deputy Director, Ciarán Kelly, welcomed the Attorney General’s remarks, saying: “Too many schools have been suckered into applying ‘Stonewall law’ – at the expense of their students. Pupils need education, not indoctrination.”


When asked how the DfE would ensure schools abide by the new guidance, Braverman said this responsibility would lie with Ofsted as the schools’ inspectorate, adding: “A school is very concerned about its Ofsted rating and the criteria that Ofsted will apply will always be at the forefront of any school leader’s mind”.

She also suggested the new guidance could help teachers, saying: “I’ve heard from teachers who are petrified of doing the wrong thing and they feel cornered into accepting the dogma that they are provided with”.

She added: “They feel they have no option but to teach something they fundamentally disagree with, they think is harmful and they know to be wrong. We can’t be living in a climate like that.”

The law

Mermaids, a charity which encourages young people to undergo drug treatments and surgery if they are confused about their gender, called on schools to ignore the Attorney General. The group said Braverman’s comments “do not reflect our understanding of the Equality Act”.

But the Institute’s Education Officer Daniela Martines said the controversial group was “once again presenting the Equality Act as they would like it to be, and not as it is”.

“Schools have a duty not to discriminate unlawfully against pupils with a protected characteristic, including gender reassignment and sex. This includes upholding pupils’ sex-based rights. There are crucial exemptions in the Equality Act which allow for this.

“Schools may legitimately and lawfully restrict access to girls’ toilets and other facilities to biological girls in the interests of privacy and safety. Mermaids’ stance denies the legitimacy of biological sex. They are not a suitable source of advice for schools.”

‘Really wrong’

Chris McGovern of the Campaign for Real Education, a teacher or headteacher for more than 35 years added that ‘indoctrinated children’ “are now working through the system and becoming the teachers of the future”, adding that many “daren’t speak out” if they believe radical gender ideology shouldn’t be taught in schools.

He criticised the content being taught in Personal, Social, Health and Economic education lessons, saying that when children as young as four go into these lessons, they’re “perfectly OK”, but when they emerge, “they are fairly traumatised because they start questioning who are they and what are they”.

He added: “They didn’t know they had a problem and suddenly they find that they have got a problem. And this is really wrong.”


Campaigners in Scotland seized on the speech to remind the Scottish Government that it must urgently reconsider guidance for schools that “parrots trans ideology”.

‘Supporting Transgender Pupils In Schools’ tells schools to support children who think their gender is different from their biological sex, and that “it is best to not share information with parents or carers” on a pupil’s gender identity “without considering and respecting” the child’s views.

Safeguarding Our Schools Scotland tweeted:

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