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Report suggests potential legal violations in allowing schoolboys to use girls’ toilets

A report by gender-critical campaign group Sex Matters highlights the legal concerns surrounding schools’ handling of gender identity issues. The report states that allowing schoolboys into girls’ toilets and changing rooms may break the law. It also argues that socially transitioning children in the classroom is incompatible with schools’ statutory responsibilities. The report warns that many schools in England risk breaching their legal duty of care to children. The report’s findings come amid delays in the government’s release of trans guidance for schools due to legal concerns. Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has emphasized that the guidance will be non-statutory and has urged teachers to exercise caution in the interim. The Sex Matters report analyzes over 20 laws and regulations and concludes that single-sex schools do not have an obligation to admit children of the opposite sex. It also asserts that schools are legally required to recognize sex in various aspects, including registration, data protection, toilet and changing facilities, and behavior policies. The report argues that it is essential for teachers to know each student’s sex in order to fulfill their duty of care and safeguarding responsibilities. The report states that treating a boy as if he is a girl or vice versa is not compatible with schools’ statutory obligations and should not be reflected in the Department for Education’s guidance. The report also states that teachers should not keep information on a child’s social transition from parents or guardians. The report states that admitting children of the opposite sex to single-sex schools is a lawful form of sex discrimination covered by the Equality Act but does not mean that schools should treat them as if they were the same sex. The report concludes that schools allowing boys to use girls’ toilets and changing rooms, and vice versa, are failing in their duty of care and legal obligations. Schools require single-sex toilets from the age of eight and single-sex changing rooms or fully enclosed cubicles from the age of 11. The report has been sent to the education secretary and other ministers. Conservative MP Miriam Cates suggests that the education secretary should provide clear guidance to teachers regarding safeguarding duties to all children, including those questioning their gender. Rachel Dee, president of the Beaumont Society, a charity that supports trans people, believes that individual schools should have the freedom to decide their policies regarding trans pupils but should consult parents in the decision-making process. A government spokesperson highlighted the importance of biological sex and advised schools to proceed with caution, prioritize safeguarding and involve parents in decisions concerning their child. The government is taking the time to ensure the clarity of any guidance it provides.

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