Pupils need parents consent before changing genders – Rishi Sunak
By Jennifer S Kuwanta
British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak has told teachers that letting boys identify as girls was ‘not a neutral act’ and could have a ‘significant impact’ on children.
He also said school staff must alert parents if their children want to be referred to by different pronouns.
His comments give the strongest indication yet of the likely contents of long-awaited guidance for head teachers on how to handle transgender rights.
It was reported last night that the guidance will finally be published this week, banning schools from letting pupils ‘socially transition’ by changing their names, pronouns or uniform if their parents do not consent.
Children questioning their gender will even be prevented from playing competitive sport, The Sun claimed.
Schools will be forced to tell parents if students are questioning their gender under new Government guidance to be published this week, according to a report.
At the moment, many schools are making their own decisions – such as whether to introduce gender-neutral toilets or changing rooms.
Labour has criticised ministers for delaying issuing the guidance, insisting schools, parents and pupils are ‘sick and tired’ of reading conflicting rumours about it in the newspapers.
Education minister Nick Gibb promised earlier this month it was being drafted and would be published soon.
A Government source said, ‘Parents have got to be kept in the know about their child while they are at school and be consulted when sensitive matters arise.
‘If their child expresses a desire to transition, for example, it’s vitally important that parents are made aware and have a say.
‘It is in everyone’s best interest to ensure this happens, so that the child is looked after, teachers are clear in how they must handle the situation and parents know so that they can handle it appropriately and sensitively.
‘The guidance will be crystal clear on all fronts.’
The move will likely draw criticism from some opposition MPs and LGBT campaigners.
Yet Mr Gibb stressed ‘parental involvement is paramount in decisions about their children’.
He said: ‘It is crucial that schools work to ensure that parents are involved in decisions about their children and we will be publishing the draft guidance shortly and there will be a full public consultation on our proposed approach.’