Thank you for contacting me about transgender guidance for schools.
The scientific reality is that sex is binary and immutable. Women and girls are biologically female and men and boys biologically male. This does not change; moreover, the very considerable differences this binary creates has important implications for issues such as single-sex spaces and sports.
Guidance is being developed to support schools both in relation to so-called 'transgender' pupils and those who say they are questioning their gender. The guidance will be clear that, apart from in exceptional circumstances, schools should involve parents in any decision about their child. I am clear that the presumption must always be in favour of parents being involved in all such decisions - indeed the presumption must be that it is for parents to decide in these matters, after taking advice from properly qualified people, when appropriate, not schools or teachers.
Since the Department for Education takes the view that this subject is so very complex, the Government will be taking more time to speak to teachers, parents and lawyers to ensure that the guidance provides clarity for schools and colleges, and reassurance for parents. The Government has committed to holding a full public consultation on the draft guidance prior to publication, to which anyone can respond.
In the meantime, my colleague Gillian Keegan, the Education Secretary, has stated clearly that schools and colleges should not agree to any changes that they are not absolutely confident are in the best interests of that child and their peers. Schools should also prioritise safeguarding and meeting their existing legal duties to protect single-sex spaces and fairness in single-sex sport. On these points, I reiterate my view that the right of women and girls - that is to say human females - to single-sex spaces is inviolable and that such spaces must not be open to biological males and that fairness and safety in sport require that biological males are not permitted to compete against or take part with biological females.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP