Government to face judicial review over school gender identity policies

Nigel and Sally Rowe(Photo: Christian Legal Centre)

A legal challenge against transgender-affirming policies in English primary schools is moving ahead after a High Court judge granted permission for a judicial review.

Christian parents Nigel Rowe, 48, and his wife Sally, 47, are taking the Department for Education (DfE) to court after removing their children from a Church of England primary school over its policies.

The couple say they were told that their children could be labelled "transphobic" if they did not accept the chosen gender or preferred pronouns of trans pupils.

They turned to the DfE to intervene in the school's policy but were told that the matter "does not constitute education".

Lord Justice Lane said this decision should be reviewed because it is arguable that transgender issues in schools are a matter of education and therefore the responsibility of the state.

The hearing is expected to take place within the next three months.

The permission for the judicial review comes after a four-year battle by the Rowes to have their case heard.

"Many try to make light of this issue by suggesting it is just about boys dressing up," they said.

"This case is about a dangerous ideology that is now firmly embedded in schools, local authorities, and Church of England leadership, and which is causing serious long-term harm to thousands of children.

"Six-year-old children have to be reminded to brush their teeth let alone make decisions about whether they are a boy or a girl.

"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 by the Christian Legal Centre.

Its chief executive Andrea Williams said it was a "crucial case" for parents and primary school children across the country.

"This case goes to the heart of what education is and how primary school children must be protected from harmful and unscientific transgender ideologies in every part of education," she said.

"Nigel and Sally Rowe were the first parents to courageously take a stand against trans ideology in our schools.

"They exposed the confusion and untruths being embedded in primary schools which have since developed into a public health crisis."