Teachers who affirm a gender-confused pupil’s biological sex and name are not automatically breaching the law, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has stated.
Following a review of the “inaccuracies” in its technical guidance for schools, the equalities watchdog has removed a section claiming: “Not using the pupil’s chosen name merely because the pupil has changed gender would be direct gender reassignment discrimination.”
In addition, its updated guidance emphasised that schools must provide single-sex toilets for children on the basis of biological sex.
The EHRC said: “Sex segregation is permitted in certain situations, such as where it is necessary and appropriate to preserve privacy and decency. The law requires schools to provide single sex toilet facilities for children over eight and single sex changing facilities for children over 11.”
‘Sex’ is understood as binary – being male or female EHRC
“‘Sex’ is understood as binary – being male or female – with a person’s legal sex being determined by what is recorded on their birth certificate, based on biological sex.”
The Commission’s Chairwoman Baroness Falkner of Magravine explained: “It is crucial we avoid any confusion on this important topic.
“The EHRC has additionally provided the Department for Education with advice on equality law and, where appropriate, human rights. We have urged them to bring forward their guidance for schools in England as soon as possible, to help provide further clarity for schools and families.”
Read about our recent High Court case supporting a parent governor’s challenge to her school’s trans-affirming sex ed policy.
Earlier this month, Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch rejected claims that legislation is required to prevent schools encouraging children to ‘socially transition’ while at school.
It followed Attorney General Victoria Prentis’ suggestion in July that proposed guidance from the DfE would require changes to equality law.
The DfE guidance on how schools should address transgender issues has been expected to clarify that schools should not treat gender-confused children as if they are the opposite sex. It was due to be released before the new term, but it has been delayed amid reports of disagreement within the Cabinet.