Christian parents launch legal action over transgender guidance for primary schools

Nigel and Sally Rowe say they have been left with no choice but to seek a judicial review after the Department for Education refused to intervene in their case.(Photo: Christian Legal Centre)

Christian parents are taking legal action against the government over transgender guidelines being used in primary schools nationwide.

Nigel and Sally Rowe are seeking a judicial review into the Department for Education's refusal to intervene in their case and what they see as a failure to protect children from harmful transgender ideology. 

They have been homeschooling their sons for the last four years after withdrawing them from their Church of England primary school because of an affirming approach towards a male pupil who started wearing dresses and identifying as female.

Their concerns relate to the Cornwall Schools Transgender Guidelines which encourage schools to accept cross-dressing and gender transition without question.

The Rowes say that when they raised their concerns with the headteacher, they were told that a child's desire to transition should be accepted.

The school did not require any reporting or formal medical or psychological assessment of the child, while policies designed to tackle 'transphobic behaviour' required the use of preferred pronouns.

The Rowes made a formal complaint to the DfE calling on the Secretary of Education to intervene in their case and to review the use of the Cornwall Guidelines in primary schools.

Declining their request, the DfE said in July: "The Secretary of State has found no evidence to suggest that the school's action, at the time, posed a risk to any child at the school, including Mr and Mrs Rowe's two sons. The evidence reviewed also suggests that the school's approach regarding gender identity was focused on the wellbeing of pupils."

Mr Rowe said they were taking legal action "with heavy hearts ... having seen how this issue has escalated".

He called for the Cornwall Guideliness to be scrapped and "replaced with a policy that protects children from partisan materials that lead them down a road of irreversible harm".

"This is not just about boys wearing dresses. This case is about an ideology that is now embedded in schools, local authorities, and Church of England leadership, and is causing serious long-term harm to thousands of children," he said. 

"We believe it is wrong to encourage very young children to embrace transgenderism. Boys are boys and girls are girls. Gender dysphoria is something we as Christians need to address with love and compassion, but not in the sphere of a primary school environment," he said, adding that "the government must be challenged."

Mrs Rowe said: "We were given no choice but to home school our children. We, and our sons, either had to go along with what we believe is a lie or face being labelled as 'transphobic.' It is not possible for Bible-believing Christians to bring their children up in line with their beliefs under such policies and approach.

"We have been blessed that home schooling for our children has been a positive experience, but we are concerned for other families who are not able to home school and are forced to risk having their children indoctrinated by these guidelines.

"Six-year-old children are not able or even allowed to make decisions on voting or having a tattoo, for example – it is therefore immoral to think that they can make such life-changing decisions at such a young age. As a society we are called to protect children, and these guidelines and the culture they are embedding in primary schools is achieving the opposite."

The couple are being supported in their case by the Christian Legal Centre. 

CEO Andrea Williams said: "Despite all the warnings in their story, trans ideology continues to work its way into the fabric of our schools and our society unabated. The truth and the devastating testimonies from parents and their children who have been harmed don't appear to resonate with the government or education authorities," she said. 

"Vulnerable children are being used as pawns and will continue to be harmed the most.

"It is chilling that Christian parents who want to bring up their children in line with their Christian beliefs cannot trust state education to be kind to them and make room for them.

"We will stand with the Rowes as they continue to seek justice and to protect the well-being of so many vulnerable children in primary schools."