Christians welcome government's new transgender schools guidance

(Photo: Alamy)

Teachers, children and school staff do not have to address pupils by preferred pronouns, according to the government's new transgender guidance.

There is "no general duty" to permit children to socially transition and parents must be informed if they do, according to the guidance released by the Department for Education on Tuesday.

"Schools and colleges should only agree to a change of pronouns ... if they are confident that the benefit to the individual child outweighs the impact on the school community," it states.

The long-awaited document has finally been published after the government missed its original deadline before the summer holidays. 

The guidance has been given a cautious welcome by Christian groups.

John Denning, head of education at The Christian Institute, welcomed the document as "a significant step in the right direction" but said that the government must now ensure it is implemented.

"This guidance finally dispels the dangerous myth that schools must always accommodate social transition, should hide a child's gender confusion from their parents or allow girls' changing rooms to be accessible to boys, or vice-versa," he said.

"Teachers and pupils alike will welcome the protections against compelled speech. But while the guidance is welcome, its effectiveness will only be seen in how robustly it is implemented.

"Ofsted, which has in the past championed transgender ideology, now needs to ensure activists no longer get away with encouraging gender confusion."

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said that Christian parents like Nigel and Sally Rowe who challenged the DfE on its approach, have been "vindicated".

"We believe that the government has listened to many of the problems we have been raising through legal cases and with the department over the last ten years," she said.

"Had this guidance been followed, many more children would have been protected and several Christians we are supporting would not have lost their jobs. Today, they are vindicated.

"Without the bravery of many Christians like Nigel and Sally Rowe, whose judicial review directly led to this guidance, we would still be seeing the ideology of groups like Mermaids run rampant in schools."