The long-awaited guidance states that schools must take a “cautious approach” that complies with their legal duties.
It explicitly states that some forms of social transitioning — under which children change their pronouns, names and uniform — “will not be compatible with a school’s statutory responsibilities”.
Those responsibilities include a legal duty to provide children with single-sex changing rooms and toilets and a ban on boys competing against girls in contact sports where their safety will be put at risk.
Schools will be told that they are not under a “general duty” to allow children to change their gender identity. Ministers had considered an outright ban but were advised that such an approach would be unlawful and require new legislation.
At the heart of the guidance will be a requirement for schools to inform parents if children want to change their gender identity, with some exceptions. They will not be required to do so if the discussions between teachers and children are “general” and no specific action is needed. They will also not be required to do so if there are safeguarding issues.
In a bid to bolster protections for teachers, they will not be “compelled” to address children by their chosen pronoun if they have a “good faith” objection. They will instead be advised to use a pupil’s chosen name. Schools will also be told to exercise “extra caution” with younger children amid concerns that social transitioning could have a more significant impact.
Maya Forstater, executive director of the campaign group Sex Matters, said: “This guidance, though imperfect, sets the global standard for uprooting trans ideology from schools.