The Department for Education must make the teaching of equality
and diversity a compulsory part of the syllabus, says the chief
executive of education charity Diversity Role Models has
Suran Dickson was commenting in response to publication today by
the Government Equalities Office of a Transgender Equality Action
Plan, which calls on the Department for Education to consider this
addition to the syllabus.
"As it stands, many schools aren't aware of what transphobia is.
It needs to be clearly explained and incorporated into
anti-bullying policies," she says. "I've had three schools get in
touch because they have concerns about students who appear to be
gender dysphoric. Those schools have absolutely no idea what to
"Schools need guidance on how to best respond to the needs of
students who don't fit into the gender binary system, particularly
with respect to physical education, uniforms and bathrooms. They
also need guidance on how to support a student who transitions
while in the education system."
She adds: "Secondary schools should have access to transgender
role models to increase the self worth of students who may be
questioning their gender identity. This will also enable their
peers to better understand and support them.
"For students and staff to gain understanding of transgender
issues, they need to work with transgender people in the form of
support groups such as Gendered Intelligence, GIRES and Diversity
Role Models. This will increase empathy and reduce bullying."