Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Trans training for Aberdeen teachers after reports of pupils being ‘dead named’

The council is rolling out changes as part of a major project to tackle bullying.

Protestors for trans rights at Castlegate in Aberdeen.
Protest for Trans Equality in Aberdeen. Image: Scott Baxter / DC Thomson.

Education bosses are rolling out a new training programme for school staff after reports of Aberdeen teachers “dead naming” transgender pupils.

The instances of trans children being referred to by their birthname are said to be especially psychologically damaging as they seek to affirm their new identity.

It emerged as Aberdeen City Council revealed more city pupils are being bullied in school because of their gender or sexual orientation.

Reports of such incidents have gone up from 16 in 2019 to 72 in 2022.

Pupils have told Grampian Regional Equality Council (GREC) that transphobia and homophobia are not taken seriously enough – unlike other issues like racism.

And the charity said matters are made worse as there’s no official way to record this, with no option to log transphobic bullying on the council’s system.

Person wearing a transgender flag stands with another wearing a saltire at a trans rights rally in Aberdeen.
A trans rights rally in Aberdeen. Image: Scott Baxter/DC Thomson.

‘Lack of appreciation’ for harm caused by ‘dead naming’

Meanwhile, the same charity says some teachers are adding to the problems trans pupils are facing at school by using their old names.

There have been reports where teachers have caused distress to transgender pupils by referring to them by their birth name – otherwise known as “dead naming”.

Crowd at a trans rights rally in Aberdeen.
The issue has arisen as trans rights becomes a major talking point across Scotland. Image: Scott Baxter/DC Thomson

In their report, council chiefs said there is a “sense of a lack of appreciation” for the impact this can have on any trans person, but “especially on young individuals”.

What training will teachers receive on trans pupils?

Because these issues have not been recorded properly, charity watchdogs say teachers and pupils are not being offered the right support in how to treat trans children.

The GREC hopes a new approach will raise awareness of “all forms of bullying”.

Crowds of revellers at this year's Grampian Pride parade down Aberdeen's Union Street.
Scores of people attended a recent Grampian Pride parade down Union Street. Image: Wullie Marr/DC Thomson

Leaders say that, by detailing the “transphobic elements” of bullying, appropriate “preventions” can be lined up.

The report comes at a time when schools are adapting to accommodate transgender youngsters.

In England, one teacher was recently sacked for refusing to use a pupil’s preferred pronouns and name.

What else is being done to tackle bullying in Aberdeen schools?

Although the number of bullying incidents related to racism have decreased – with the number of African pupils nearly doubling since 2019 – others have gone up.

The council now wants to tackle those issues by training more teachers on how to handle reports of bullying.

GREC believes that the “refreshed” policy will mean employees can better identify and rectify issues.

Table outlining the different types of behaviours that would be classed as bullying, for example, 'name calling' is classed as verbal bullying.

So what are teachers expected to do?

Officials at GREC criticised the council, saying “the experience for pupils is not always positive” when reporting incidents of bullying.

Council education chiefs have now drafted new measures to fill in the gaps and improve their approach.

One of the more prominent points is reinforcing a better system to monitor and report every bullying incident.

What about bullying via gaming or social media?

While the new policy was welcomed, parents have raised concerns the new regulations are still not strong enough.

Councillor Ken McLeod questioned the lack of clarity on when exactly school staff are expected to take action – with bullying taking place outside school grounds.

Aberdeen City Council’s quality improvement officer Mark Hearns acknowledged the “blurred lines” between what is and isn’t the school’s responsibility.

Two individuals at a trans rights rally holding signs that read: "Trans rights are human rights"
Image: Jane Barlow/PA Wire.

However, he reassured them that action will still be taken even if the bullying occurs via gaming, social media and text messages.

He said: “When bullying is happening outside of school, the school has responsibility and is keen to be involved in resolving those issues.

“Ultimately, sometimes it will come back into the school so the school definitely has a role to play.”

GALLERY: Aberdeen awash with colour as thousands celebrate Grampian Pride