The issue of children who identify as transgender is a new one for schools, which have a duty to accommodate and protect this vulnerable group. The issue is such a political hot topic that the children themselves may get lost within the wider campaign for transgender rights. I provide training which recognises the rights of this group as children first and foremost, who have the right to the same protection as any other child within schools’ established safeguarding systems.
It is advisable to be informed and prepared for the eventuality that a pupil develops gender dysphoria or a new child who identifies as transgender arrives at the school. If staff are prepared and confident and the school is already clear on policies, this should be no more of a problem than with any other child who presents with challenging circumstances. Teachers are professionally trained and experienced in supporting children through all kinds of issues on the sometimes rocky road to maturity and, drawing on their expertise, need not find the issue of a ‘trans child’ any more difficult. My training is designed to remind teachers of their own knowledge and wisdom and inspire confidence in their own abilities.
I deliver common-sense, practical advice from a neutral, non-political position, based on safeguarding guidelines which teachers are familiar with, such as the Department for Education publication Working Together to Safeguard Children and the school’s own safeguarding and child protection policy.
I offer up to two and a half/three hour training sessions to equip teachers with the knowledge and confidence to manage challenging decisions and situations in an area which is completely new for schools.
I give information in answer to typical questions such as:
- What do we do about toilets and changing-rooms?
- How can the school support children who identify as the opposite gender?
- What do we tell the other children?
- What are the legal obligations and duties of a school?
- How do we balance the needs and rights of everyone in the school community?
My training covers the legal duties of the school according to Equality law and an explanation of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act, how they interact and how to manage clashes of rights. I don’t advise schools on what policies they must implement, but give the information necessary to enable a school to make the right decisions for them, with confidence that policies are compliant with the Equality Act. This includes information about Public Sector Equality duty, the duty to carry out Equality Impact Assessments and make sure that this is evidenced, and to ensure that all policies are compliant with the school’s safeguarding policy.
The full training also includes a presentation on ‘gender identity’, including a summary of the current clinical approach towards children with gender dysphoria, the medical treatment pathway and the influence of identity politics within youth culture. I include discussion on issues such as working together with parents and managing difficult scenarios within the school community. I tailor presentations according to the specific needs of individual schools, which may vary between primary and secondary schools for example. I can look at your school’s Equalities policy and other relevant policies and advise on how to make sure they are compliant with the Equality Act and Ofsted requirements.
Fees start at £350 plus travel expenses. The fee can be negotiated depending on the length of the presentation or training required and the number of attendees. Please let me know whether you would prefer a morning or afternoon. I will be travelling from Lewes, East Sussex, so an afternoon session would be more convenient if you are some distance away.
If you would like more information on the position of schools in relation to transgender rights, you can download this resource pack which I wrote in consultation with teachers, safeguarding leads and lawyers:
If you would like a hard copy of the schools resource pack, please contact me using the contact information below.
For my work in providing this resource for schools I was shortlisted for the John Maddox Prize 2018, a joint initiative of the charity Sense About Science and the science journal Nature, which “recognises the work of individuals who promote sound science and evidence on a matter of public interest, facing difficulty or hostility in doing so.”