The Rowes

Nigel and Sally Rowe are challenging their sons’ former CofE primary school after being told that ‘misgendering’ a child could be considered a form of bullying.


When a six-year-old boy in their son’s class started to come to school sometimes dressed as a girl, Nigel and Sally Rowe, who live on the Isle of Wight, raised concerns with the Church of England school. They say that their son, also six years old, came home from school upset and saying that he was “confused” by the situation.

Nigel and Sally met with the headteacher and class teacher, and followed up with a letter setting out some of the questions that they had. But the school’s formal response was “cold”, they say, and didn’t address their concerns. In the letter, the school suggested that an “inability to believe a transgender person is actually a ‘real’ female or male” and the refusal to “acknowledge a transgendered person’s true gender e.g. by failing to use their adopted name or using gender inappropriate pronouns,” was “transphobic behaviour”.

The policies adopted by the school were originally published in 2015 as the Cornwall Schools Transgender Guidelines, and have since been held up as best practice by other schools and local authorities, and even the Department for Education.

Nigel and Sally, who are currently homeschooling their two children, are now pursuing a judicial review over the Department for Education’s refusal to intervene in their case and its promotion of the transgender guidelines in primary schools.


Read the expert reports backing the Rowes’ case

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