Teacher sacked over child ‘transitioning’ to have case heard

18 March 2024

An Employment Tribunal in Nottingham will hear the case of a Christian teacher sacked for raising safeguarding concerns about a primary school “affirming” an 8-year-old child in a ‘social transition’, and relying on guidance of Stonewall.

Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, ‘Hannah’, who cannot be identified to protect the identity of ‘Child X’, is likely to begin giving evidence at Nottingham Justice Centre from Tuesday 19 March 2024.

Bringing the case against Nottinghamshire County Council and a primary school where she had worked without issue for five years, Hannah is making claims of victimisation for whistleblowing, unfair dismissal, and discrimination on the grounds of her Christian beliefs.

She has alleged that the school dismissed her, and reported her to a raft of regulators, for blowing the whistle on the school’s ‘trans affirming’ policy practice which she believed endangered ‘Child X’ and their peers.

The policies appeared to allow any child at the school, without medical evidence, to be affirmed in whichever gender they chose.

Promoted with staff training under the direction of a Stonewall Champion working at the local authority, the policies did not include any detail on the risks a ‘trans affirming’ approach has on children.

Under the policy, Hannah was told ahead of the new school year in 2021, that an 8-year-old joining her class must be addressed by the child’s new name and pronouns and therefore would be treated as ‘transgender’, be ‘affirmed’ in the belief that they were ‘born in a wrong body’ and be allowed to use toilets and changing room facilities of the opposite sex.

Hannah said that she could not go against her conscience and Christian beliefs in affirming what she believed would cause Child X, and potentially other children, short and long-term harm.

Following all the correct safeguarding procedures and backed by expert evidence, Hannah raised safeguarding concerns which were repeatedly ignored by school bosses, governors and the local authority.

Faced with no option but to pursue a judicial review of the school and council’s refusal to properly act on her concerns, Hannah was dismissed for accessing and divulging, with her lawyers, information which the school argued was confidential.

Before the tribunal, Hannah is expected to say that she had a legitimate belief that the treatment of Child X amounted to a serious safeguarding issue, that she acted in Child X’s best interests at all times and followed all the correct safeguarding procedures.

She will reveal the extreme LGBTQI+ ideology influencing the schools’ policies and will say how her sacking for wanting to protect vulnerable children from harm was far too overreaching and has left her with the prospect of never being able to teach again.

Trans guidance for schools

Hannah’s case comes following the government’s December 2023 publication and consultation of its draft transgender guidance for schools, which makes a number of significant points in relation to her case.

The guidance says that schools and colleges now have specific legal duties that are framed by a child’s biological sex, and that there is no general duty to allow a child to ‘social transition’.

The draft guidance adds that teachers should not be compelled to go against their conscience and use a pupils’ preferred pronouns which are contrary to their biological sex.

Section 6.3 of the draft guidance says:

“No teacher or pupil should be compelled to use these preferred pronouns and it should not prevent teachers from referring to children collectively as ‘girls’ or ‘boys,’ even in the presence of a child that has been allowed to change their pronouns.”

Furthermore, the guidance says that allowing a child to transition is not a neutral act and that safeguarding obligations must be taken into account, not only for the pupil wanting to ‘transition’, but for all children.

Telling schools that they must always protect single-sex spaces with regard to toilets, showers and changing rooms, the guidance also says that no child should be allowed on a school trip to share a room with a child of the opposite sex.

Policy Exchange report published last year has also concluded that a ‘generation of children are being let down, because well-established safeguarding standards are being compromised.’

The report went on to say regarding sex and gender issues that:

“Safeguarding principles are being routinely disregarded in many secondary schools, which are neglecting their safeguarding responsibilities in favour of a set of contested beliefs in a way that risk jeopardising child wellbeing and safety.”

“I owed a safeguarding duty to Child X”

Ahead of the hearing, Hannah said:

Like all teachers at the school, I owed a safeguarding duty to Child X.

“I followed all the correct procedures, I backed all of my concerns with expert evidence and believed the action I took was in the public interest.

“It is because I care so much about children that I am taking this action. This isn’t about me simply trying to prove that I am right, but about the safety of seriously distressed children.

“I could not participate in causing harm to Child X. The tragic stories of ‘detransitioners’, the Policy Exchange report and clear expert scientific evidence, back and vindicate me.

“Teachers are being bullied not to question trans affirming policies but evidence shows they put the welfare of children at serious risk.

“I am determined to pursue justice over how I have been treated because my number one concern and motivation is to protect this child and other children in this country from harm.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said:

“For years, parents and teachers who have raised safeguarding concerns over these issues have been ignored and disbelieved despite clear expert evidence demonstrating the harm trans affirmation causes.

“The Policy Exchange report highlights that school leaders and teachers are endemically failing to follow standard safeguarding protocols in relation to ‘transitioning’, but in this case, we see what happens to a teacher who tries to do it right.

“This story exposes the confusion and untruths being embedded in primary schools which are developing into a public health crisis.

“The Department for Education must look closely at this case and take appropriate action to protect teachers, who often hold Christian beliefs on these issues, from being hounded out of the profession for opposing or even questioning transgender ideology.”

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