12 June 2018
By Claire Anderson

Top 10 Tips - Supporting gender variant children and Trans* young people in your school or setting

Areas to consider:

  1. An individualised approach to support: Listen to the child or young person and be led by them

  2. Name and pronoun: Respecting a child or young person's request to change name and pronoun is a pivotal part of supporting and validating that young person's identity

  3. Uniform and dress: Trans* and gender questioning pupils and students have the right to dress in a manner consistent with their gender identity or gender expression

  4. Confidentiality and information sharing: All people, including pupils and students, have a right to privacy.  This includes the right to keep private one's trans* status or gender nonconforming presentation at school.  It is not the job of schools to 'out' its pupils.

  5. Working with parents and carers: Although many parents/carers are supportive of their child identifying as Trans, this is not always the case.  Schools should bear in mind that they are representing the interests of the child or young person and respect their request for confidentiality unless there are safeguarding reasons not to.

  6. Toilets: Pupils and students have the right to access the toilet that corresponds to their gender identity.  Any pupils or student who has a need or desire for increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason, should be provided access to a single stall toilet, but no pupil or student should be required to use such a toilet.

  7. Changing Rooms: The use of changing rooms by trans* pupils and students should be assessed on a case by-case basis in discussion with the trans' pupil or student.  In most cases, trans* pupils or students should have access to the changing room that corresponds to their gender identity.  This approach is underpinned by the Equality Act 2010 whereby refusing a child or young person access to the changing room of their true gender identity would constitute an act of discrimination.

  8. PE and fitness: Schools should aim to reduce as far as possible segregating pupils and students by gender.  Trans* pupils and students should be supported to enable equal access to PE and where lessons are segregated by gender should be enabled to participate in the activity which corresponds to their gender identity if this is what they request.

  9. Residential trips: A degree of discussion, care and preparation is required to enable trans* pupils and students to participate in residential trips.  To exclude trans* pupils and students from residential trips would be contravening the Equality Act.

  10. Transition and medical intervention: Most support for young trans* people in schools will be around the social aspects of transition.  For those choosing to undergo medical transition, schools should take into account the need for authorised absences.  School staff will be able to be more supportive if they have an understanding of some of the key stages of medical transition.

Trans* - an umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth.  Trans people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including (but not limited to) transgender, non-binary, gender queer.  As found in the Trans Guidance.