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Consultation on draft guidance

In December 2023, the Department for Education published a consultation on draft non-statutory guidance for schools and colleges in England on children questioning their gender. The government has said that while this guidance is in place to help teachers, parents’ views should be at the centre of the decisions schools make about their child.

The consultation was open until 12 March 2024.

Equality Act 2010 in schools

In England, Wales and Scotland, the Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination relating to gender reassignment. The Department for Education (DfE) guidance on the Equality Act says protections apply to those who are undergoing, have undergone, or are proposing to undergo, a  process (or part of a process) of reassigning their sex by changing physiological or other attributes.

Guidance in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland

As schools policy is a devolved issue, this briefing focuses on the position in England, but some information is included on relevant policies and pupil experiences in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Guidance has been published on support for transgender pupils in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and is currently being developed in Wales.

In 2023, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published updated guidance on the Equality Act and how it applies to schools in England and Scotland.

The Equality Act does not apply in Northern Ireland, but guidance issued by the Education Authority says the  “lack of bespoke equality law protection does not, however, prevent a challenge to any decision by the school or Board of Governors in respect of a transgender pupil by way of judicial review on human rights grounds.”

Documents to download

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