Stonewall shared concerns with Ofsted that inspectors don’t always discuss trans issues with children


Stonewall has expressed “concern” to Ofsted that inspectors do not always discuss trans issues with elementary school children, The Telegraph can reveal.

The LGBT charity questioned an exemption in the school’s watchdog guidelines allowing inspectors to avoid interviewing children as young as five on topics such as gender transition if a principal “reasonably believes” that it is sensitive to students.

In an email to Ofsted, published under freedom of information laws, Stonewall said: “We are concerned that exempting inspectors from telling students about certain protected characteristics could affect their ability to assess. effectively a primary school’s compliance with the Equality Act 2010.

They stressed the need not to discriminate on the basis of gender reassignment, which under the Equality Act is the process of transitioning from one gender to another, warning that inspectors may not be able to detect bullying if students were not interviewed.

The email raised a “specific concern” that teachers may not “inform students of the existence of all protected characteristics” in the Equality Act 2010 by the time they leave primary school. .

He then asked whether primary schools would be marked as’ in need of improvement ‘or’ insufficient ‘- the lowest scores in Ofsted inspections – if children were not informed of’ in particular, guidance sexuality and gender change .

In its response, Ofsted defended its advice to inspectors and said staff were alert to homophobic or transphobic bullying.

The revelation comes days after Equality Minister Liz Truss urged Whitehall departments to sever ties with the controversial charity’s Diversity Champions Scheme, which sees 250 public agencies paying thousands of dollars for equality training which, according to lawyers, “distorts” the law.

Ofsted is among a growing number of major employers, including the equality watchdog, who have left the program in recent months.

An investigation by that newspaper on Thursday revealed how Stonewall advised organizations to replace the term mother with “parent who gave birth” to improve their ranking in its coveted ranking of inclusive employers.

Activists are calling for a public inquiry into how the “pressure group” obtained such an influential position at the heart of government.

In the email to Ofsted, seen by The Telegraph, Stonewall’s director of education and youth wrote: “We know some students who are bullied (for whatever reason) don’t disclose it. not to teachers, so it’s hard to imagine how inspectors could do assessments of whether homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying is prevalent in schools, without being able to tell students about all of the protected characteristics.

Ofsted responded by defending its current guidelines, including that inspectors “will always be alert to the risk of homophobic or transphobic bullying” and ask students how safe they feel, but will not ask students about relationships. LGBT in schools where they are not taught.

But schools could be marked as in need of improvement if they don’t promote students’ understanding of all protected characteristics, such as gender, disability and race, the watchdog added.

Tracy Shaw, of the parents and teachers campaign group, Safe Schools Alliance, said: “Schools should not be working with pressure groups, so we are concerned that Stonewall appears to be putting pressure on the Schools Inspector. “

Meanwhile, more and more public organizations have abandoned Stonewall’s diversity program. They include the Post Office, the NHS Highland, Swim England, three police forces and several councils.

The Telegraph understands that the government is due to make a decision next week on removing Whitehall departments from the program.

A Stonewall spokesperson said he was “proud to advocate for inclusive LGBT education” and that starting this in primary school “helps all children, especially those from LGBT families, to to feel included and to learn to accept from an early age “.

Ofsted said they were no longer members of the program.

A spokesperson said: “Primary schools that meet the DfE statutory requirements for teaching RSHE, including on protected characteristics, but do not explicitly teach gender reassignment, can still be considered exceptional.

“As stated in our guidelines, if a school requests that inspectors not tell students about a topic that the school reasonably thinks is sensitive to its students, inspectors will not ask students about it.”

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