Supporting transgender students: what you need to know

How can you ensure young people can express their gender identity in school without experiencing discrimination or being made to feel uncomfortable? And how do these concerns intersect with legal and safeguarding requirements? Teacher Debbie Hayton explains all in this guide

There are more children in our schools seeking support for difficulties in the development of their gender identity than ever before. In 2009-10, just 97 children were referred to the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), based at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, which is the only public service of its kind in Great Britain. Referrals have increased every year since, with the number for 2017-18 rising to 2,519, a 25 per cent increase compared with the previous year.

While the majority of these children are of secondary age, in 2017-18, 246 were of …

[This article was published by TES and the full text is available on their website. Access starts at £15 for digital access to magazine content via]

Debbie Hayton teaches physics at a secondary school in the West Midlands. She transitioned seven years ago, and tweets @DebbieHayton

* This article originally appeared in the 10 May 2019 issue of TES under the headline “Supporting transgender students: what you need to know.” It was then published on their website on 10 May 2019: Supporting transgender students: what you need to know.


Trans Toolkit for Schools, Leicester LGBT Centre et al

Supporting Gender Diverse and Trans-Identified Students in Schools, Transgender Trend

Supporting Trans and Gender Questioning Students, NEU teaching union

Trans Equality in Schools and Colleges, NASUWT teaching union

Schools Transgender Guidance, Cornwall Council, the Intercom Trust, and Devon and Cornwall Police

Transgender Guidance for Schools, Torbay Safeguarding Children Board,

Transgender Guidance, Lancashire County Council,

Trans Inclusion Schools Toolkit, Allsorts Youth Project, and Brighton and Hove City Council,

The Equality Duty, East Sussex County Council,

Supporting Transgender Young People: guidance for schools in Scotland, LGBT Youth Scotland, Scottish Trans and the Scottish government,

The School Premises (England) Regulations 2012

The Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014

Technical Guidance for Schools in England, Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

Human Rights Act 1998

Information Sharing: advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers, HM Government

Author: Debbie Hayton

Physics teacher and trade unionist.

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