Transgender GuidanceNorth Ealing Primary School
Gender is often an important part of an individual’s identity and developing a positive sense of gender identity is part of growing up. However, gender identity is often complex and there is a spectrum of gender which is wider than just boy/ man or girl/ woman.
Practice to support trans children is embedded across school policies and curriculum and builds on best practice already in place to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation; it aims to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations.
This guidance seeks to provide a broad overview of the needs of transgender children and their families. It reflects current legislation as outlined in the Equality Act 2010, guidance from the Home Office and GIRES’ Guidance on Combating Transphobic Bullying in Schools 2008 and it should be read in conjunction with the school’s own Equality Plan.
In developing practice to support trans children, schools should try to follow these principles:
- Listen to the child, their parents, carers and siblings. Wherever possible follow their lead and preferences.
- No child should be made to feel that they are the ones who are causing problems or that they owe anything to their school in return for being treated with the equality they deserve and are legally entitled to.
- Avoid seeing the child as a problem and instead, see an opportunity to enrich the school community and to challenge gender stereotypes and norms on a wider scale.
- Avoid where possible gender-segregated activities and where this cannot be avoided, allow the child to access the activity that corresponds to their gender identity.
- Challenge bullying and discrimination.
- Promote positive attitudes to gender diversity by including trans issues within activities relating to discrimination, hate crime, diversity, inclusion, SRE and PSHE.
- Remember that transition is different for different people.
Early Help Process
It is important that any support offered to a transgender child or young person starts with identifying their individual needs. Some may choose to be known by a different name or to wear different clothes. However, most or all young trans people (and their families) will need some expert/specialist support as they grow up and develop.
When completing an assessment for support particular attention should be paid to emotional health and wellbeing, family and social relationships, behaviour and an action plan put in place to address these issues and ensure the young person has a robust support plan.
Terminology and language
The correct terminology and language should be used and in order to do this, there may need to be some education in lessons around sexual orientation and gender so that staff and pupils have a clear understanding that sexual orientation and gender identity are two completely different things. For the matter of fairness and inclusion it is extremely important that the correct gender, name and pronouns are used correctly to address transgender pupils. The school works closely with Diversity Role Models to review our procedures, increase awareness and ensure equality and respect for all.
Names and pronoun change
Respecting a child or young person’s request to change name and pronoun is crucial in supporting and validating that young person’s identity. Some transgender children and young people may wish to change their name to make it in line with their chosen identity. Although they may not have changed their name legally, individuals have the right to choose the name by which they are known by staff and fellow pupils.
North Ealing Primary will make reasonable adjustments to accommodate absence requests for any treatment or appointments with external sources in line with the absence policy.
It is possible that the young person may be accessing support from outside of school so provision must be made in order for the student to be absent from school but confidentiality must be maintained at all times when complying with absence procedures. Sensitive care will be taken when recording the reason for absence. The young person may need time off for a medical appointment and it should be recorded correctly rather than being off sick.
Transphobia and Bullying
North Ealing Primary has a robust anti-bullying policy. In line with this policy, transphobic incidents will be recorded and dealt with in the same manner as other incidents that are motivated by prejudice, e.g. racist or homophobic incidents.
Sports and Physical Education is a key aspect of the national curriculum and the physical and mental well-being of young people. Physical Education develops a pupil’s competence and confidence to take part in a range of physical activities that become a central part of their lives, both in and out of school.
A young transgender person has the same right to Physical Education as other young people. With regard to young transgender people at school, there should be reasonably few, if any, issues regarding participation within the sports of their true gender.
There may be sports where, as puberty develops, male to female (M2F) transgender participants may have a physical advantage over other girls but this should not present a problem within a carefully and sensitively managed lesson context. The issue of physical risk within certain sports should also be managed properly within the lesson context rather than preventing young transgender people from participating (which would be discriminatory).
If a pupil is binding their chest, they should be monitored carefully during particularly physical activities and in hot weather. There is a chance that the binding could cause discomfort or even impair breathing. Short breaks from activity could be offered discreetly.
Changing Room Facilities
The use of changing room facilities will also be carefully considered. Facilities for transgender pupils will be sensitive to their needs and also recognise the needs and sensitivities of other students. When competing at another school or outside the venue, school staff must ensure there is an appropriate sensitive provision available.
North Ealing Primary will take a view on prior to the delivery of those lessons, in discussion with parents or carers.
If the trans pupil is partaking in swimming lessons then a risk assessment of the changing facilities should be completed. There must be a careful consideration, in consultation with the pupil and in line with the health and safety policy of the leisure centre or swimming pools health and safety procedures. For example, it may be against health and safety regulations to wear a t-shirt in the swimming pool and therefore would be more appropriate for an F2M pupil to wear all in one wetsuit or similar.
North Ealing Primary would make arrangements by consulting with both the child and parents when making a decision on toilet facilities, considering the facilities available within the school. Adaptations would be made to consider the wishes and needs of the parents and child.
Transgender students will be expected to follow the School Uniform Policy, which covers uniform, make-up and jewellery and hairstyles.
Careful consideration and preparation are needed where a transgender pupil is taking part in a residential trip – to exclude a transgender pupil would be contravening the Equality Act.
The sleeping arrangements will need to be thought about carefully before the trip takes place. Risk assessments should be carried out prior to residential trips so that reasonable adjustments can be made to allow the pupil to participate.
Confidential information about pupils will not be shared with other parents.
The school will not engage with the press over this issue without seeking the advice of the LA press officer or media relations officer.
Staff must know their duties and responsibilities around data protection so that they fully understand why information is protected, and when, how and to whom certain information can be released.
Transition with other schools and to High School
Some children and families will choose to make a transition into their preferred gender identity at the point where they change schools and begin the new school with a different name and pronoun. This may be at the end of Year 6 when they are preparing for high school; other children may have socially transitioned in an earlier year group and are preparing for the different challenges of a new context when they move to high school. In all cases, North Ealing will work closely with parents and the receiving school to ensure that the child remains fully supported throughout the process and those appropriate preparations are made for a successful transition to the next school or high school. We will also ensure we have a full handover and transition when receiving children from other settings.