Steve Beegoo comments on a recent speech by Attorney General Suella Braverman, where she spoke about the dangers of schools promoting trans ideology.
In her speech on 10 August 2022, at the Policy Exchange, the Rt Hon. Suella Braverman QC MP, outlined how many transgender ideologically-driven teachers will be judged to be breaching “their duty of care” by making “serious interventions” where they affirm and socially transition children, often without the parents’ knowledge. This should rightly deeply concern all teachers and school leaders who have taken incorrect advice and training from local authorities, LGBT groups or Equality organisations.
This speech finally makes clear that thousands of schools, even the majority, will have been breaking the law in uncritically teaching children transgender ideology, socially transitioning children, hiding curriculum from parents, allowing boys to use girls’ toilets, and for punishing staff and pupils who do not agree with the ideology.
Through teachers using some of the most common resources available to schools, such as Twinkl, or receiving advice from organisations such as Stonewall, schools have affirmed children into making a decision which, as Ms Braverman states, “can have lifelong and profound consequences for the child.” She continues, “This is particularly so when the child is harmed as a consequence, especially if social transition were to lead subsequently to binding, or medical or surgical procedures, and even more so if done without the knowledge or consent of the child’s parents.”
The Rt Hon Suella Braverman QC MP Attorney General is the chief legal advisor for the UK. This speech points to new guidance which the Department for Education is finalising, and that Ofsted will be tasked with monitoring this in schools. In answering the question of Maya Forstater, Ms Braverman stated “Ofsted must step in” should schools be promoting transgender ideology, and should hold school leaders to account.
This would be a shift, as since the introduction of RSE, Ofsted have been seen to be promoting the delivery of ‘gender identity’ or ‘gender diversity’ teaching.
Children cannot be legally transgender
Ms Braverman correctly pointed out that schools are wrong to treat children as ‘transgender’, since anyone under the age of 18 cannot obtain a gender recognition certificate. She stated:
“… under 18s are unable to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate and schools will generally be dealing with children whose sex for the purposes of the Equality Act is that registered at birth.”
However, she did concede that schools should consider ‘requests for social transition’ on a case by case basis:
“Schools should consider each request for social transition on its specific circumstances, and individually, and any decision to accept and reinforce a child’s declared transgender status should only be taken after all safeguarding processes have been followed, medical advice obtained and a full risk assessment conducted, including taking into account the impact on other children.”
The social transitioning of children often begins with an affirmative approach to a child’s desire to change name and pronouns. Teachers or parents who have refused to do so have been roundly vilified. The Attorney General explains:
“Yes, it can be lawful for schools to refuse to use the preferred opposite-sex pronouns of a child… Furthermore, schools and teachers who socially transition a child without the knowledge or consent of parents or without medical advice increase their exposure to a negligence claim for breach of their duty of care to that child.” (Emphasis added.)
Schools are regularly being challenged by ideologues regarding decisions about different uniform for different biological sexes. She explains however that:
“Yes, it can be lawful for a school to refuse to allow a biologically male child, who identifies as a trans girl, to wear a girls’ uniform. This will be a significant part of social transition and the inherent risks of that could present an ample legitimate aim.”
Some schools have moved to having only unisex toilets, or to allow pupils to use the toilet of their chosen gender. Ms Braverman corrects assumptions underlying these policy decisions:
“Indeed, if the school did allow a trans-girl to use the girls’ toilets this might be unlawful indirect discrimination against the female children.”
Many parents have found schools elusive and lacking transparency about what they are teaching regarding LGBT issues and in RSHE. The Attorney General gave clarity to parents by saying:
“…yes parents have a right under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to request access to teaching materials used in their children’s state funded schools. They could also make an internal complaint followed by referral to the Department for Education and ultimately via judicial review. But parents do have the right to know what is being taught to their children.”
Much of our support from Christian Concern’s Education department and the Christian Legal Centre has surrounded these issues. The many hours of work which we put into cases such as that of the Rowes or Izzy Montague, have put pressure on our legal institutions and policy makers to recognise the harm to children and illegality of practices occurring in our schools. We would agree with Ms Braverman where she now acknowledges:
“In relation to the Equality Act, the main problem is that businesses and institutions are currently misinterpreting these laws and applying a perceived moral obligation to go beyond the law, when it comes to equality.”
This is so very true in many of our schools.
Christians often find themselves at odds with what is being taught in schools. The children of Christian parents are often put in traumatic situations when facing the sexualised and secularised ungodly school approaches. The freedom of Christians, and their children, to disagree and remain counter-cultural is continually under threat. It is heartening to hear Ms Braverman’s firm statement that:
“Further, no child should be made to fear punishment or disadvantage for questioning what they are being taught, or refusing to adopt a preferred pronoun for a gender questioning child, or complaining about a gender questioning child using their toilets or changing rooms, or refusing to take part in activities promoted by Stonewall or other such organisations. The right to freedom of belief, thought, conscience and speech must be protected.”
Headteachers and parents
Parents have every right to be informed of what is going on in their child’s school. As Ms Braverman points out:
“The problem is that many schools and teachers believe – incorrectly – that they are under an absolute legal obligation to treat children who are gender questioning according to their preference, in all ways and all respects, from preferred pronouns to use of facilities and competing in sports. All this is sometimes taking place without informing their parents or taking into account the impact on other children. Anyone who questions such an approach is accused of transphobia. In my view, this approach is not supported by the law.”
We urge each parent, or school staff member to make every effort to make this speech and the forthcoming DfE guidance known and visible to your relevant school leadership. Explain how important it is for your school to get this right by writing a letter so it is received by them as the new school year begins. Urge them to conduct a review, so that they will be compliant with the law. Urge them to read the speech, or to watch it. Send them the links.
Gender unicorn, or Genderbread posters must be taken down. PSHE and RSHE curriculum must have these ideological teachings removed. Headteachers are the gatekeepers of their school, and our children will be better protected from transgender ideology and harmful practices if what has been announced is enacted immediately in policy and curriculum delivery.
You can use our templates to find out what your school is teaching – we’d encourage you to adapt it to make it your own and send on the links to Ms Braverman’s speech.