Transgender ideology poses a threat to the welfare of school children, Peers have warned.
During a House of Lords debate on the importance of safeguarding pupils, members highlighted the harmful effects of trans dogma on parental freedoms, sex education, sport and the provision of safe changing rooms and toilets for girls.
The Government has repeatedly delayed its trans guidance for schools, but says it will be released before Christmas.
‘Violation of trust’
Introducing the debate, Baroness Jenkin of Kennington said that “many schools are adopting an ideological approach towards sex and gender, and issues around identity.”
This, she argued, “is leading to a violation of trust between parents and teachers”.
Lady Jenkin added: “Some schools are breaking the safeguarding rules by legitimising withholding vital information from parents, promising confidentiality to children and compromising single-sex spaces”.
Lord Farmer asked whether the Department for Education (DfE) is “investigating how extreme trans ideology, which presents schools with significant safeguarding concerns, was allowed to be adopted as fact”.
In this age of affirmation, the ideologically driven imperative to be kind has blinded schools to their foundational safeguarding responsibilities. Lord Farmer
He commented: “The education system should be a bulwark against pernicious ideas evolving into domineering and bullying ideologies, and not simply affirm both them and the young people persuaded by them.”
“Extreme trans ideology states, ‘I am what I feel, irrespective of my biology’. It is the epitome of expressive individualism and detached from reality.”
He concluded: “In this age of affirmation, the ideologically driven imperative to be kind has blinded schools to their foundational safeguarding responsibilities. Will the DfE guidance make that clear?”
Reflecting on the role of safeguarding in sport, Lord Wrottesley – who is Director of the UK’s Ice Hockey federation – said that it is “unfair and unsafe” for biological males to compete against females.
He explained: “A person who is born a male, even if they transition pre or post-puberty, will always have a physiological advantage over a biological female. No amount of reassignment will change that.”
The Peer continued: “Consider when a male trans athlete causes a life-changing injury to a female player because of their vastly differing physiologies.
When schooling is captured by an ideological agenda, it leads to poor, uncritical education, and schools can become blind to what really is in the best interest of children. Lord Jackson of Peterborough
“Ask females what they feel about intact males entering intimate spaces such as changing rooms. They feel extremely vulnerable and possibly violated, and I suggest that if anyone allows this to happen, they are in clear breach of safeguarding and are promoting harm.”
’Partisan’ sex ed
Lord Jackson of Peterborough warned: “When schooling is captured by an ideological agenda, it leads to poor, uncritical education, and schools can become blind to what really is in the best interest of children”.
He highlighted the particular safeguarding risk posed by third-party organisations delivering highly inappropriate lessons on sex education with graphic material.
“In reality, many of them are highly partisan campaign groups with agendas that conflict with some of the duties placed on schools. Regrettably, this radicalism has been prevalent in the sector for some time.”
The Peer reported two specific instances where “brave parents” had pursued complaints about inappropriate resources all the way to the DfE, only to find themselves waiting on a response months later.
He stated: “It seems that the DfE is effectively disempowering parents who are courageous enough to make a stand and, while they wait for a response to their complaints, children continue to be exposed to materials that their parents regard as unsuitable and harmful.”
Lord Jackson said that the School of Sexuality Education, a group known for delivering explicit sex education in schools, had contributed to two of the DfE’s own sex education training modules for teachers.
“I am afraid we must ask whether the DfE has not been captured and compromised itself. The situation is a mess: it is imperative that the Secretary of State and her Ministers get a grip and act urgently.”
In September, a Christian mum – recently reinstated as a parent governor following an order made by the High Court – urged governors to check their school’s RSE policies for unlawful trans ideology.
A Gateshead primary school removed ‘Susan’ for raising concerns that resources promoting gender ideology were set to be used in the classroom without the Governing Body properly considering if they breached education law.
The case was backed by The Christian Institute, and Deputy Director Ciarán Kelly said: “It is clear to us that in many schools today, resources promoted by Stonewall and other groups include the discredited idea that ‘gender identity’ can be different from biological sex – an idea that has no basis in science.”