Christian teacher accused of misgendering pupil denies misconduct

Joshua Sutcliffe

A Christian teacher has denied professional misconduct after allegedly misgendering a pupil and criticising Islam on YouTube.

Joshua Sutcliffe, 32, is fighting against his removal from the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA).

A hearing into his conduct took place in Coventry last week and has been extended so that further evidence can be heard.

Mr Sutcliffe is accused of calling Muhammad a "false prophet" on his personal YouTube panel and using the wrong pronoun to address a biologically female student who identifies as a boy. 

In 2017, Mr Sutcliffe was suspended and dismissed from Cherwell School in Oxfordshire over the alleged incident. 

He said that he had avoided using gender specific pronouns in order to accommodate both the pupil's needs and his own Christian beliefs that humans are born male or female. 

He later settled out of court.  

In 2019, Mr Sutcliffe was forced to resign from another school after criticising Muhammad and Islam in a video he posted to YouTube. 

Other allegations against Mr Sutcliffe relate to his views on same-sex marriage after he told a student who asked about his views during a Bible group session at school that he believed it to be wrong.

Expert evidence from theologian Dr Martin Parsons said that Mr Sutcliffe's beliefs were based on his evangelical Christian faith, which is shared by a "significant number" of other evangelical Christians and many Catholics.

"Prior to 1689 when the Toleration Act was passed, a significant number of Bible believing Christians in Britain were prepared to face execution, with thousands more subject to imprisonment for their faith," he said.

"However, the understanding that there are legitimate separate spheres for church and state and the enshrining of these in aspects of constitutional law, led to the establishment of freedom of religion in Britain, which later spread to other countries of the world."

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said that "the prevailing secular orthodoxy which cannot tolerate any dissent" and that Mr Sutcliffe was being "hounded out of the profession" for "speaking truth".

"True 'misgendering' is accepting trans identities," she said.