Will Labour stop ban on teaching gender identity in schools?

26 June 2024

Head of Education Steve Beegoo looks at Labour’s recent statements on trans ideology in schools – what do they really mean?

Gender identity ideology, often now taught as fact in schools, tells children they can change from being a girl to a boy, and only they know who they really are.

Labour’s Bridget Phillipson says she doesn’t want ‘partisan language’ in guidance to schools on teaching gender identity to children. The current draft guidance, which was to be turned into statutory guidance later this year, was very clearly proposing to ban this harmful teaching from schools. It seems Labour thinks this language is unnecessary.

In an interview with Bridget Phillipson, the shadow education secretary argued that “there are transpeople in society” and so would not go along with the ban as currently clearly expressed in the draft guidance.

This is deeply concerning, as the incredible progress which has been made through the work of the Cass Review, and many reports highlighting the scale of the damage being wrought on our children through the acceptance of gender ideology, could be rowed back on under a Labour government.

In the BBC interview on Sunday, Kuenssberg pressed, as Phillipson tried to avoid clarifying, asking “But my question is what would your guidance be? What do you believe teachers should be advised to do? Because what the Conservative government has suggested they would do, is ban the teaching of the concept of gender identity. Is that what you would do?”

Phillipson replied, “Elements of it drifted far too much into partisan and unnecessary language which I think make it harder for schools to navigate. If I were Education Secretary, I would work to look at all the responses that we’ve received to the consultation. I know that school leaders have flagged areas they believe that are still outstanding with the (draft) guidance.

LGBT organisations which work in schools have rallied their supporters to complain about the proposed ban in responding to the consultation.

Pressing her further, Kuenssberg challenged saying, “But I want to press you on this point because it is a very sensitive issue and it’s of great importance to some people and some teachers have felt anxious about this. Would you ditch the ban on teaching the concept of gender identity?”

Obfuscating, Phillipson stated, “There are transpeople in society and their existence should be recognised…

So you wouldn’t ditch it?”

This drifts sometimes into a slightly bizarre conversation…”, with Phillipson side-stepping.

When asked about Phillipson’s refusal to answer the questions posed about a ban on gender identity content, Sir Kier Starmer said ‘I’m not in favour of ideology being taught in our schools on gender’.

Although this was widely reported as a row back, his comments add very little.

He didn’t specify gender identity ideology. It is not at all clear from his comments whether he believes that gender identity is an ideology. He may easily claim that the trans beliefs so often taught in schools is fact, not ideology – the exact problem with so many of the resources being used.

Given Labour has committed in their manifesto to a trans inclusive ban on ‘conversion practices’ while protecting the freedom to explore… ‘gender identity’, how might this affect their education and other policies? They seem keen to use gender identity as a factual character trait that all should be free to explore. Should Bridget Phillipson take charge of the Department for Education, what will they define as ideology which cannot be taught in schools?

The Association of Christian Teachers survey demonstrated that nearly half of Christian teachers surveyed had been asked to teach content in RSHE which they were uncomfortable with, and a third said that in their school gender identity ideology was being taught as fact. These primary and secondary teachers tend to try to teach in schools more aligned to their Christian beliefs, yet even here the trans inclusive content is becoming the norm. Our legal cases with the Rowes, Kristie Higgs, Calvin Watts and ‘Hannah’ demonstrate the challenges parents and teachers are facing, even in church schools.

Any Labour government will need to review both the responses to the consultation to the gender questioning children draft guidance (which is now closed), and the current live consultation on Relationship Sex and Health Education (RSHE, which you can still respond to until 11 July. It is imperative that Christians respond to these consultations. Please use our support to do this).

Labour is conflating the need for, ‘trans people to be recognised’ and teaching children that they have an innate gender identity which can be in conflict with their biological sex, which may require social transitioning through clothes and pronouns, and then chemical and surgical adjustments. This is what a Labour Education secretary seems to be nervous of banning, suggesting the ban directed by the draft guidance is unnecessary and unhelpful partisan language.

What will the future environment for parents be like, when they want to protect their children from these anti-Christian ideas should they be peddled in their local school by their teachers. With the plan to add VAT to independent school fees, and a plan to enforce registration and therefore monitoring of home educators, a future Labour government will clearly make other options even more challenging than they are today.

As you consider who to vote for and what questions to ask your local candidates, prayerfully consider what your response should be. Please also respond to the live consultation on (RSHE) using our resource.

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