William Eichler 15 April 2024

Toolkit to support gender-questioning children 'unlawful'

Toolkit to support gender-questioning children unlawful image
Image: Veja / Shutterstock.com.

A ‘toolkit’ used by many schools in England and Wales to support gender-questioning children is unlawful, according to a leading equality and human rights barrister.

The toolkit, introduced by Brighton and Hove City Council in 2021, says schools should ‘respect’ a child’s request to change their name and pronoun, as well as other changes such as switching to wearing trousers or a skirt.

It emphasises that schools ‘will want to involve parents and carers in discussions’ and should adopt a ‘watch and wait’ policy when a young person first comes out to a teacher.

However, a legal opinion by Karon Monaghan of Matrix Chambers has concluded that schools and councils using the toolkit are likely to be in breach of equality and human rights legislation and could be sued.

Ms Monaghan warned that the toolkit fails to address the position of pupils and members of staff who hold ‘particular religious or philosophical beliefs, including “gender critical beliefs”’.

She also found that it gives a misleading account of the law on single sex spaces and the law on freedom of belief and expression.

‘A school that implements the guidance in the Toolkit is very likely to act unlawfully in the respects set out above,’ she concludes.

‘Further, the Toolkit encourages and sanctions such unlawful conduct and/or misdirects schools as to their legal obligations and as such and to this extent, it is itself unlawful.’

Cllr Lucy Helliwell, co-chair Children, Families and Schools Committee, said: 'We know from local and national evidence that gender-questioning young people experience bullying, and are more at risk of developing mental health problems than other young people.

'We authored the Trans Inclusion Schools Toolkit with the input of partners in the city to support schools, teachers, gender-questioning young people and their parents and carers on a case by case basis.

'We’ve regularly reviewed and updated this guidance in line with legislation since the first version was produced in 2013, with the current version published in 2021. Our plan is to review the guidance again with expert legal advice following the publication of the Cass review last week.'

The Cass Review is an independent review of gender identity services for children and young people.

Selling the family silver image

Selling the family silver

Ryan Swift, research fellow at IPPR North, urges the next Government to stop the mass sell off of council assets.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Social Worker

Wakefield Council
£40,221.00 - £43,421.00, Grade 10, 37 hours, Permanent
Community Mental Health Senior Social worker (level two) post at Baghill House Pontefract. Baghill House, Health & Wellbeing Centre, Walkergate, Pontefract, WF9 1QW
Recuriter: Wakefield Council

Senior Social Worker

Wakefield Council
£40,221.00 - £43,421.00, Grade 10, 37 hours, Permanent
An exciting opportunity has arisen for a full time (37 hour) senior social work position within Connecting Care East. Castleford Civic Centre, Ferrybridge Road, Castleford, WF10 4JH
Recuriter: Wakefield Council

Senior Care Assistant (Days)

Wakefield Council
£21,422.43 - £23,731.62, Grade 6, 30 hours, Permanent
Dovecote lodge is a short term placement unit which support the hospital with admissions, predominantly from the emergency department. Dovecote Lodge Dovecote Lane Horbury Wakefield West Yorkshire WF4 6DJ
Recuriter: Wakefield Council

Complex Needs Support Worker

Wakefield Council
£19,697.84 - £21,064.05, Grade 5, 30 hours, Temporary
Dovecote Lodge currently has a vacancy for a 30 hour complex support worker, the rota includes days, afternoons and nights over a 10 week period. Dovecote Lodge Dovecote Lane Horbury Wakefield West Yorkshire WF4 6DJ
Recuriter: Wakefield Council

Multi Skilled Operatrive x4

Wakefield Council
£22,737.00 - £29,269.00, Career grade 3-6, 37 hours, Permanent
We are seeking enthusiastic and capable colleagues to join our Highway Operations team that forms part of the Highway Network Management. Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Wakefield Council
Linkedin Banner

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.