The Minister of Schools “wouldn’t be too happy” if his daughters were boarding with a trans student | UK News
The children’s minister told MPs he ‘probably wouldn’t be very happy’ for his daughters to share a boarding school with a pupil who identified as transgender.
Will Quince was giving evidence to the Commons Education Select Committee, which heard that schools in England were seeing an increase in the number of children identifying as trans.
He was answering questions from Caroline Johnson, a consultant pediatrician and Conservative MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, who said she had been contacted by parents concerned about an 18-year-old trans woman sharing a pension with their daughters.
Johnson said: ‘The number of children who identify as transgender is increasing and schools must strike a balance between ensuring that these children can be properly cared for and that their needs are properly met’, while meeting the needs of the entire school population. .
She added: “I was contacted as a member of this committee last week by parents who are concerned about the presence of an 18-year-old trans woman in their teenage daughters’ boarding school.”
She asked Quince what guidance the Department of Education could give schools to handle these situations “in a sensitive way that preserves the privacy, dignity and well-being of all students.”
The Minister said the issue was a “bit of a minefield” and told MPs the DfE was working with the Government’s Office for Equalities to create guidance.
“I think there are two competing priorities here,” he said. “The first is the Equality Act 2010 and the importance of all children and young people being treated equally and, where there are protected characteristics, recognised. But at the same time, every school also has legal obligations, the duty to safeguard, protect and promote the well-being of all children.
Quince continued, “Given what you just said, as a parent — and in particular a parent of two young girls — I probably wouldn’t be too happy with the situation you’re describing.
He said it was made a bit more complex because the case Johnson was referring to involved an independent school and suggested parents speak with the headmaster, governors – and if necessary the Independent Schools Inspectorate.
Pressed on the need for detailed government guidance, the minister said he would speak to schools minister Robin Walker but urged schools to use common sense.
“You can give all the guidelines in the world that define the legal position, but we need schools to use their common sense first and follow the law as it is right now. I would say that the duty to protect and safeguard should probably take precedence over everything else.
A spokesperson for transgender children’s charity Mermaids said: ‘The small number of schools using financial resources and staff time to organize a blanket ban on trans pupils from single-sex schools is truly sad. and confusing – can we think of another marginalized population of young people where this is happening?
“At the heart of it all is a young person who wants to learn, like himself – it’s actually very simple when you think about it like that.
“We look back in history and can remember that gender was a reason girls were denied access and now we have this institution denying access to another marginalized group of learners. When will we learn?