A SCHOOL in Conwy has defended itself against claims made by a father that its “gender identity policy” is putting “children’s safety at risk”.

Ysgol Aberconwy said its policy was approved by its full governing body last October, and is due to be reviewed in 2025.

The parent, who asked to be anonymous, said he has already tried to engage with the school on the subject, after saying there was “absolutely no consultation” with parents prior to the policy’s implementation, but has so far “got nowhere”.

Included in the policy are points such as:

  • In discussion with the school and parent/carers, and subject to safeguarding, children and young people can access the toilet that corresponds to their gender identity. 
  • The use of changing rooms by trans children and young people will be assessed on a case-by-case basis in discussion with the individual. 
  • In most cases, trans children or young people should have access to the changing room that corresponds to their gender identity.  
  • The goal should be to maximise social integration and promote an equal opportunity to participate in physical education classes and sports, ensuring the safety and comfort, and minimising stigmatisation of the child or young person.
  • Trans children and young people should be supported to enable equal access to PE and where lessons are segregated by gender should be enabled to participate in the activity which corresponds to their gender identity if this is what they request. 
  • Trans children and young people should be permitted to participate in competitions and sports days in a manner consistent with their gender identity if they wish to do so. It is unlikely that pre-puberty there would be any issues with a trans child or young person competing and representing the school. 

The parent also referred to the findings of the Cass Review, published on April 10 by paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass, which looked at gender identity services for children and young people in NHS England.

In the final report, it is claimed that gender medicine is operating on "shaky foundations" when it came to the evidence for medical treatment like prescribing hormones to pause puberty or to transition to the opposite sex.


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The parent said: “It’s affected my children very badly… at times they’ve been very depressed about it, they’ve said they just want to go to school but feel like they can’t.

“They don’t really understand what’s going on. Those who are adversely affected by these changes also have rights.

“For some reason, they won’t change them, or ask parents whether they support them. There are a lot of parents frustrated by how unaccountable the school is.

“You can’t just choose your gender from day to day. It has led to instances of antisocial behaviour at the school.

“Why should a teacher be fearful of being brought to a tribunal if they misgender a child?”

The parent said he has also sought the help of his MP, Robin Millar, and of Merched Cymru, a Welsh-based group which seeks to “protect the sex-based rights of women and girls”.

Mr Millar said he has written to the school and council for “urgent clarification” on its policies in this regard.

He said: “I'm very concerned for the effective safeguarding of children in our schools.

“We must preserve safe access to single sex spaces for girls and pupils, but we must also make sure teachers are given the support they need.

“They should not be expected to present contested theories as fact, nor should they be expected to make clinical diagnoses of complex and sensitive mental health issues in the classroom.

“The Cass Review has raised important questions about the assumptions the Welsh government has used to develop it's policies and curriculum.

“This must be reviewed as a matter of urgency by Welsh Government, by councils and by schools - or they risk acting unlawfully and putting children's safety at risk.”

A Merched Cymru spokesperson added: “So-called 'unisex' toilets in schools do not comply with the law, which is very clear that girls and boys should have separate facilities from the age of eight.

“Mixed sex toilets are a clear safeguarding risk, leaving the school open to legal challenge.

“Ysgol Aberconwy is using a policy based on a toolkit that was withdrawn by Oxfordshire County Council following a legal challenge, and subsequently withdrawn in many other council areas.

“Ysgol Aberconwy and the local authority urgently need to review their processes for developing guidance and which organisations they take advice from.

“Ideology should have no place in policies that should protect children and ensure everyone's rights to privacy and dignity are upheld.”

In response, Ian Gerrard, head of Ysgol Aberconwy, said: “As a school, we work hard to support all our young people and to keep them safe.

“We aim to ensure that the whole school environment is supportive and inclusive by developing a culture and environment that celebrates difference and diversity, and that all children and young people can see themselves reflected and valued in systems and processes, which support vulnerable children and all young people. 

“Our policies aim to provide a framework to support this work and are reviewed regularly in line with current guidance and legislation.”

A council spokesperson added: “We work with our secondary schools to ensure all young people can feel valued, included, and safe in their education.

“We’re supporting our schools to ensure that everyone is treated fairly.”