Good Law Project, a “not-for-profit that uses the law for a better world”, has published expert legal advice about trans children and schools, to help schools in England and Wales understand their responsibilities, and parents and children to understand their rights.
The advice was written by Dan Squires QC, a leading education and discrimination law expert, and focuses on the obligations set out in the Equality Act 2010. This legislation prohibits schools from discriminating against their pupils, including on the basis of protected characteristics such as ‘sex’ and ‘gender reassignment’.
The advice says that the protected characteristic of ‘gender reassignment’ includes anyone proposing to undergo, undergoing, or having undergone a process of reassigning their sex, by changing either the physiological or other attributes of sex. It is not confined to people who have undergone surgical transition or who have obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate. The protected characteristic of ‘gender reassignment’ is also likely to cover non-binary and genderfluid identities.
The legal advice answers questions like:
- Can a mixed school refuse to admit or exclude a child because they are trans?
- Is a school required, as a matter of law, to treat a child as being of the gender with which they identify? If so, what are the main practical components of this obligation? If not, what obligations, if any, does the school have to that child?
- Can a single sex school exclude a a current pupil on the basis that the pupil now identifies as the other gender?
Jo Maugham, Director of Good Law Project, said: “A previous iteration of the Equality and Human Rights Commission prepared guidance for schools on their responsibilities towards trans pupils.
“That guidance was pulled at the direction of Number 10. We commissioned this advice, which is conspicuously neutral and from a highly respected specialist QC, to try to help schools by filling that gap.”
Good Law Project’s summary of the advice can be read here.
The full legal advice by Dan Squires QC can be read here.