Schools to receive guidance in supporting transgender pupils
SCHOOLS are to receive guidance in supporting transgender pupils.
The Education Authority (EA) said it had received correspondence from several schools on the issue.
It has now set up a steering group to devise guidance, which will look at matters including name changes, uniform policy and the use of toilets.
The EA said transgender pupils faced challenges at school that included high levels of homophobic and transphobic bullying.
This could have a knock-on effect on young people's mental health, attendance and attainment, the EA said.
The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools, Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education, the Children's Law Centre and Transgender NI will be among those involved in the group.
In developing the guidance, the EA said it aimed to increase the professional capacity and confidence of staff in supporting transgender young people "and assist schools and youth services in promoting an inclusive environment where all children feel welcomed, safe and valued".
It is expected that the guidance will be sent to schools next year.
Principals last year drew up advice with campaign group Stonewall that urged primary schools to "ensure books featuring trans parents" were included in the curriculum.
The National Association of Headteachers said schools should "celebrate diversity and ensure visibility of trans perspectives".
That guidance called for leaders to "ensure trans students and children with trans parents feel included in their learning, and trans staff members feel positively represented in lesson content and welcomed in the school environment".