Row breaks out over girls school saying it won't accept trans pupils

Row breaks out after leading group of girls’ schools says it ‘will not accept transgender pupils’ as 2,000 sign petition and MP accuses trust of ‘hiding behind Equality Act’

  • Girls’ Day School Trust said it was ‘committed to single-sex education for girls’ 
  • Said admissions will be based on the legal sex recorded on a birth certificate
  • Thousands of people have now signed a petition opposing the decision  
  • A row has erupted after a leading group of girls’ schools said they would no longer accept transgender pupils due to fears it would harm their status as single-sex institutions. 

    The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST), a group of 23 private schools and two academies, said it was ‘committed to single-sex education for girls’ and accepting transgender pupils could ‘jeopardise’ its single-sex status.

    Bosses said admissions will be based on the legal sex recorded on a student’s birth certificate rather than gender identity and the trust would not accept applicants who were legally born male but identify as trans.

    But the trust did say it would ‘carefully consider’ applications from legally born females who identify as trans or non-binary on a ‘case-by-case basis’.

    The Girls' Day School Trust (GDST), a group of 23 private schools and two academies, said it was 'committed to single-sex education for girls' and accepting transgender pupils could 'jeopardise' its single-sex status. Pictured is Nottingham Girls' High School, which it runs

    The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST), a group of 23 private schools and two academies, said it was ‘committed to single-sex education for girls’ and accepting transgender pupils could ‘jeopardise’ its single-sex status. Pictured is Nottingham Girls’ High School, which it runs

    The row began last month when trust bosses updated the gender identity policy to change admission rules.

    A petition started last week by someone calling themselves ‘anonymous student’ in a bid to get the trust to reverse the decision has now reached over 2,150.

    The authors wrote: ‘Experts themselves have said the decision is ‘unwise at best’, and students have also expressed their unhappiness with the policy.

    ‘Experts in the field have emphasised that transgender girls will not ‘jeopardise’ girls’ schools, and that the GDST’s decision should be reconsidered.

    ‘Essentially, it boils down to this. Since transgender girls are girls, why can’t they attend a girls’ school?’

    In the UK, trans men and women can only correct their legal sex on their birth certificate over the age of 18, meaning children and teenagers that identify as trans would not be able to change their legal sex in an attempt to attend schools at the trust.

    Labour MP Nadia Whittome, who has one of the schools in her constituency, accused the trust of 'hiding behind' the Equality Act

    Labour MP Nadia Whittome, who has one of the schools in her constituency, accused the trust of ‘hiding behind’ the Equality Act

    The trust’s policy states: ‘GDST schools are able to operate a single-sex admissions policy, without breaching the Equality Act 2010 on the basis of an exemption relating to biological sex.

    ‘The GDST believes that an admissions policy based on gender identity rather than the legal sex recorded on a student’s birth certificate would jeopardise the status of GDST schools as single-sex schools under the act.

    ‘For this reason, GDST schools do not accept applications from students who are legally male. We will, however, continue to monitor the legal interpretation of this exemption.’

    Labour MP Nadia Whittome, who has one of the schools in her constituency, accused the trust of ‘hiding behind’ the Equality Act

    The Nottingham East MP told ITV: ‘The trust is hiding behind the Equality Act as a reason for this policy not to admit transgender girls.

    ‘But the Equality Act itself is clear on this.

    ‘There’s a provision in it that allows single-sex schools to maintain their single-sex exemption while also admitting pupils of the opposite sex in exceptional circumstances.’  

    But Cheryl Giovannoni, chief executive of GDST, said that the policy intends to ‘offer a supportive educational environment to those students who are exploring their gender identity or in the process of transitioning’ while adding that schools can operate on a single-sex policy.

    She added: ‘Our trans students are welcome in our schools and our policy primarily sets out ways in which schools can support them.

    ‘A trans student already at our school can remain at the school for as long as they wish to do so.

    ‘Young people exploring their gender identity need space and time to make decisions, free of pressure.’

    Category:

    celex

    Tags:

    , , , , , ,

    Comments are closed.