Nicky Downes, National Education Union executive (personal capacity)
My union, the NEU, has issued a press release reminding the Tory attorney general that “discrimination against trans students is illegal”. Suella Braverman had said that schools did not need to accommodate pupils who wished to change gender, were under no legal obligation to address them by a different pronoun, or allow them to change uniform.
Tory education secretary Nadhim Zahawi stated that schools should inform parents if their child comes out as trans or non-binary in school, despite the huge safeguarding issues this poses. The NEU has demanded that he withdraw this call.
I have a non-binary stepchild. They came out to their parents after a long period of concern regarding their mental health.
Their parents and school have been supportive by adopting their chosen pronouns and providing guidance where needed. But it could have been different.
Many schools are not welcoming places. A large number of trans and non-binary students are now taught in alternative provision.
Trans and non-binary young people are far more likely than their peers to self-harm. They need access to mental health support, which is underfunded, in demand, and often extremely difficult to get.
We can’t trust the Tories with schools and young people’s futures. The Socialist Party stands for schools under the democratic control of local education authorities, staff, parents and student organisations.
That would help create an education system where staff aren’t overworked, and support services are fully funded. Those are the conditions for pupils to get the support they need.