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Maths teacher takes school to court in ‘transgender’ row

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Joshua Sutcliffe is taking his employers - an Oxfordshire school and its headmaster - to an Employment Tribunal, after accusations of gross misconduct by ‘misgendering’ a ‘transgender’ student. In November, Mr. Sutcliffe was suspended and placed in isolation for telling students ‘well done girls’ while one of them wanted to be identified as a boy. He now says he has been unfairly dismissed by the school.

Mr Sutcliffe, from Oxford, began working at the school in September 2015 and taught children aged 11-18. He has an exemplary record and has achieved excellent results, with his key-stage 3 students outperforming every parallel class.

On November 2, a complaint was made that he referred to the pupil as a ‘girl’, rather than ‘boy’. The child had self-declared as ‘male’, but Mr Sutcliffe, who had been given no formal instruction on how he was to refer to the pupil, said “well done girls” in her presence. When the pupil became irate Mr Sutcliffe sought to diffuse the situation and apologised. Nonetheless, an investigation began during which time Mr Sutcliffe was prevented from teaching and forced to spend all his time in isolation in the staff room.

Following the week-long investigation, the school found Mr Sutcliffe to have ‘misgendered’ the pupil, ‘demonstrating discriminatory behaviours’ and ‘contravened the school’s equality policy’. The school recommended dealing with the matter of ‘misconduct’ under its disciplinary policy.

In his time at the school, Mr Sutcliffe started running a successful Bible club, which was attended by over 100 pupils in its time before being shut down 18 months after its inception. The Headteacher initially told him that the Bible club could not run without a register and a curriculum, but when Mr Sutcliffe produced the required documents, the Head still insisted on cancelling the club, whilst at the same time allowing the school’s LGBTI, mindfulness club, and Qigong club to continue running without register or curriculum.

The story was made public in November, provoking national outcry in support of Mr Sutcliffe. Following the media attention, the school postponed the pre-scheduled disciplinary hearing, and initiated further investigations against Mr. Sutcliffe, alleging breach of confidence and bringing the school into disrepute.

In response, Mr. Sutcliffe has now written to the Headmaster accusing the school of “increasingly oppressive” behaviour and of presuming him to be guilty of misconduct. He states that the School’s investigations are “unashamedly designed to silence me from speaking out about your malpractices”.

The letter reads: 

“As a Christian, I do not share your belief in the ideology of Transgenderism. I do not believe that young children should be encouraged to self-select a ‘gender’ which may be different from their biological sex; or that everyone at school should adjust their behaviour to accommodate such a ‘transition’; or that people should be punished for lack of enthusiasm about it. Implementation of these ideas is detrimental to the welfare of children, which I believe should be a paramount consideration. However, as a professional, I was always careful not to breach my employer’s policies so long as I was not forced to act contrary to my conscience.”

Mr. Sutcliffe claims that the School has “systematically and maliciously” breached his rights, and has made it impossible for him to continue working for it. He continues:

“I am more than willing to answer all the unjustified allegations you are now advancing against me, and detail my own grievances about your totalitarian ‘equality’ policies and practices. However, I intend to do so before an independent Tribunal, not before yourselves acting as a judge and jury in your own case. I regret that our relations have reached this point, but I feel I have no choice but to bring legal proceedings against you without further notice.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre which is supporting the teacher, added:

“This case is one of a flood of cases we are encountering where teachers are finding themselves silenced or punished if they refuse to fall in line with the current sexual and gender ideology being imposed on our children in schools.

“We all know how much we change during our teenage years. It is vital that during those years we help our children to live in the biological sex they were born rather than encouraging them to change ‘gender’. If we encourage them to change gender it is not kind and compassionate; it is cruel.

“What we need is a culture in our schools which gives emotional support to children through puberty without encouraging them to make life-long decisions against their natural born biological sex.

‘If we collude in the transgender delusion we do not serve our children well, we harm them”.

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