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by Louise Wilson
12 August 2021
Scottish Government publishes school guidance on trans pupils

itakdalee / Alamy Stock Photo

Scottish Government publishes school guidance on trans pupils

The Scottish Government has published new guidance for schools on supporting transgender pupils.

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said the resource would ensure trans young people felt “safe, respected and included”.

The 70-page document aims to promote best practice to support trans and non-binary pupils, but also highlights “the particular importance of privacy and the provision of safe spaces for girls and boys within schools”.

The guidance is non-statutory and is designed to help education authorities and schools make the best decisions when it comes to trans students.

It covers issues including how to respond to transphobic bullying, how to speak to a young person who is coming out, and how and when to involve parents in decision-making.

Somerville said: “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.”

Teachers are encouraged to use the preferred name and pronouns of trans young people when in school, which can be updated in the school records.

Schools should also consider providing gender-neutral spaces for pupils not comfortable using single sex toilets or changing rooms, though it highlights not all toilets must become gender neutral.

The guidance also encourages schools to allow trans young people to wear clothes which match their gender identity and take part in physical education with the group they prefer.

LGBT+ charities have welcomed the publication, which they say will help trans people to achieve their full potential as learners.

Dr Mhairi Crawford, chief executive of LGBT Youth Scotland, said: “Teachers and school leadership often tell us that they lack the knowledge and confidence to effectively support trans young people. This resource will guide school staff on how best to do so, improving the lives of trans young people and enabling them to thrive.”

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