22/11/2018

NI Schools To Receive Guidance On Supporting Transgender Pupils

Newly appointed Green Party leader Clare Bailey has praised the news that all Northern Ireland schools will be provided with detailed guidance on how to support transgender pupils.

It emerged on Wednesday 21 November that the Education Authority (EA) has estabished a steering group to draw up the guidelines, which will cover a number of practical issues such as name changes, uniform policy, and the use of toilets.

It comes at the request of schools, following queries about the best way to support transgender students.

Organisations represented on the steering group include the Children's Law Centre, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools, the EA's educational psychology department, the NI Council for Integrated Education and Transgender NI.

Clare Bailey MLA said: "This is good news for our trans pupils as well as our schools.

"I'm also calling for a mandatory Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) Programme to be rolled out.

"This programme, alongside guidance on supporting transgender pupils can create an inclusive environment in schools and help all our pupils reach their full potential."

There are no official figures as yet on the number of school children who identify as transgender, but those who do face a number of specific challenges, according to an EA spokesperson.

"Research has highlighted a range of barriers to education and high levels of homophobic and transphobic bullying which can have a knock-on effect on young people's mental health, attendance at school and attainment," they said.

"In developing the guidance, the EA aims to increase the professional capacity and confidence of staff in supporting transgender children and young people and assist schools and youth services in promoting an inclusive environment where all children feel welcomed, safe and valued."





(JG/CM)

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