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Guidance published to support transgender children in schools

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville
Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville

The Scottish Government has issued new guidance for schools to better support transgender children and young people.

The document contains real-life examples, best practice and advise on a wide range of issues that could affect transgender pupils.

It explores bullying, safety and privacy including the importance of safe spaces for girls and boys within schools.

Steps advised to school staff involve having open and honest conversations with young people and ensuring the curriculum is inclusive.

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “Pupils are happier and learn more at school when they feel safe, respected and included.

“We know transgender young people can face many issues in schools and that teachers and staff must have the confidence and skills to support their mental, physical and emotional health.

Practical suggestions

“This guidance outlines how schools can support transgender young people while ensuring that the rights of all pupils are fully respected.

“It provides schools with practical suggestions. The guidance is not prescriptive and does not promote transitioning.”

The government’s intention to produce guidance in this area was first announced in June 2019 and it has since been developed to address gender equality within education.

Research carried out before the publication highlighted that it is necessary in schools to help put a stop to discrimination.

The survey of more than 700 LGBT young people in Scotland revealed that 82% who are transgender had expereinced bullying in school. Of those, 68% said it had “negatively affected their educational attainment”.

Carrie Lindsay, president of the Association of Directors of Education Scotland (ADES), said: “ADES welcomes any resource that helps give schools information and advice about how they can ensure an inclusive school ethos and environment for all of our children and young people.”

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