4-year-old boy enrols as a girl in church of england schoolTransgender
A Church of England primary school in the southeast of England admitted a four-year-old boy as a girl, a decision that later unsettled classmates and parents when his biological sex was disclosed.
Parents reported their children were distressed upon learning the truth, accusing the school of deceit.
The Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, and the Women and Equalities Minister, Kemi Badenoch, expressed concerns, with Badenoch highlighting the potential breach of new government guidance against social transitioning at primary school age.
She emphasised, "Government guidance is clear that social transitioning is not a neutral act and is certainly unsuitable for primary school-aged children.
"I will be making sure that the school is aware of government policy and the law when it comes to gender-questioning children."
The boy, now in Year 3, was initially welcomed into a friendship group, his biological sex undisclosed by the school's directive. This led to confusion and distress among the children, particularly after incidents were reported of the trans-identifying child "flashing their willy" at the girls, and telling the other children about "dark spirits that will suck their souls out" and that it is a "deep secret" that "she" is actually a boy, but they mustn't tell anybody.
The situation escalated to formal complaints from parents, concerned about the school's approach to safeguarding and the impact on their children's mental health. One parent, particularly troubled by the secrecy and its effects on her daughter, decided to withdraw her child from the school.
The parent said, "The fact that a boy was being enrolled as a girl aged four, that alone for me is a massive red flag. Because I don’t see how a child of that age can make that decision…to actually go through a social transition.”
This incident has sparked debate over the handling of gender identity in schools, with government officials urging adherence to guidelines that prioritise biological sex for young children.
Dr Hilary Crass, a paediatrician who recently launched a report commissioned by the NHS has warned that allowing young children to socially transition to their preferred gender was "not a neutral act" and could have a "significant" impact on their "psychological functioning".
The Church of England's existing guidance aimed at preventing bullying is under review in light of the government's stance. According to a CofE spokesperson, the guidance titled "Valuing All Gods Children" was intended for the prevention of bullying, and not guidance "for schools to help them provide gender questioning children".
The Department for Education insists on the importance of safeguarding and the accurate recording of a child's sex, while Ofsted maintains its commitment to taking all concerns seriously.
However, some MPs have expressed their concern that schools could ignore the guidance because it is non-statutory.
"This is exactly what happens when you don't treat a child as their biological sex in all circumstances and it shows why treating a child as the opposite sex is a safety risk," says Miriam Cates, Conservative MP.
She continues, "Although the guidance is headed in the right direction, because it isn't statutory and it does include exceptions, it doesn't necessarily stop another case like this happening."
The case has prompted urgent discussions on ensuring the welfare of all pupils, reflecting broader tensions between inclusivity and safeguarding in educational settings.