UK schools will not be required to use students’ preferred pronouns under new guidelines — and must inform parents

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Schools in the United Kingdom will not be required to use students’ preferred pronouns and will need to inform the parents of a pupil who requests to change their gender under new guidelines.

The parent-focused approach to gender transitioning, if approved, will “take a very cautious approach” on key decisions concerning student’s gender and health.

“Parents’ views must also be at the heart of all decisions made about their children,” Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said, according to BBC.

In situations where the child may be at risk if a parent is informed, schools can bypass parental consent, according to the document.

The guidelines also state that schools do not have a “general duty” to allow students to “socially transition,” meaning that educators will not be pressured to use different pronouns.

Instead, they are urged to use caution, including “watchful waiting periods, and ensuring parents are fully consulted before any decision is taken.”

Schools in England will have to follow new guidance that including keeping parents informed when their children decided they want to transition genders. Drazen – stock.adobe.com

In addition, restrooms and changing rooms, as well as some sports, will be separated based on birth sex.

“Schools must always protect single-sex spaces with regard to toilets, showers and changing rooms,” the document said.

“Responding to a request to support any degree of social transition must not include allowing access to these spaces. As a default, all children should use the toilets, showers and changing facilities designated for their biological sex unless it will cause distress for them to do so.”

Schools can offer gender-neutral options when it comes to bathrooms, but it must be a single-stall facility that can be “secured from the inside.”

As for single-sex schools, the institutions will have the right to refuse admission to those who are gender questioning.


Gillian Keegan and Kemi Badenoch walking on Downing Street.
The new guidelines, which were introduced by Education Secretary Gillian Keegan (left) and Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch, are now subjected to a 12-week public consultation before being finalized. Getty Images

In addition, educators are advised not to adopt new names or pronouns until it has been “agreed by the school or college in accordance with the proper procedures and, in the vast majority of cases, parental consent.”

Schools will also be required to record the name and biological sex of each student on official documents.

The new guidelines, which were introduced by Keegan and Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch, are now subjected to a 12-week public consultation before being finalized, according to BBC.

Already, significant legal risks have been warned about, as school leaders are worried that following the strict guidelines could land them in court.

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, says it is “vital” for schools to have “assurance that any guidance they are following does not expose them to the risk of legal action,” The Guardian reported.

However, a government spokesperson said the guidelines are “lawful” and will “help schools navigate these complex and sensitive issues, by urging caution, parental involvement, and prioritizing safeguards at all times,” they told The Guardian.

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