Infant school praised by Ofsted 'for allowing its transgender pupils to express themselves'
Schools are labelling children as young as four as ‘transgender’ simply because they want to dress up as the opposite sex.
Little boys who like wearing dresses or tutus are being encouraged to express themselves in a ‘gender-neutral environment’ in the classroom.
And while many parents may question how any school can make such a judgment about a child so young, Ofsted is apparently in no doubt.
The education watchdog lavished praise on schools where it said ‘transgender pupils are taken seriously’.
One infants’ school, catering for four to seven-year-olds, was applauded for its ‘excellent work’ with ‘pupils who are or may be transgender’.
‘The school appreciates that a boy may prefer to be known as a girl and have a girl’s name and similarly a girl may have a girl’s name but wants to dress as and be a boy,’ an Ofsted report said.
The unnamed school, (I would hazard a guess at somewhere in Brighton !), where a quarter of pupils in reception class have same-sex parents or close family members in same-sex relationships, also acts as a hub for transgender pupils at other schools, hosting them at after-school clubs.
At a second school, a primary catering for children up to 11, pupils are encouraged to behave in a ‘non-gender stereotypical way’.
Younger boys dress up in girls’ clothes from the dressing-up box and are allowed to wear ribbons in their hair.
The report added in glowing terms: ‘A Year One boy [aged five to six] sometimes wears a tutu all day without comment from his peers. Pupils are confident to speak about what they like to do, for example boys are happy to say if they prefer cheerleading to football.
‘The school choir and sewing club both include plenty of boys and many girls play football.’
The schools were among nine highlighted by Ofsted inspectors because they had ‘successfully tackled prejudice-based attitudes and related bullying’.
They received warm praise in an Ofsted report on ways to tackle bullying in schools.
Ofsted said the schools’ approaches had helped to eliminate name-calling and create an ‘inclusive’ environment in classes.
However aspects of its report were provoking disquiet last night.
Controversy rages over when children are old enough to decide whether they are ‘transgender’. Studies suggest the vast majority who think they are the wrong sex will change their minds when they reach adolescence.
In a series of recommendations to tackle bullying, Ofsted called on schools to crack down on the use of derogatory language by pupils such as ‘mong’, ‘spazzer’, ‘batty man’, ‘lez’ and ‘trannie’.
Name-calling in schools was too often dismissed by teachers as childish teasing, inspectors said.
‘Many pupils were well aware that such language was not acceptable, but it was often seen as “banter”,’ the report said.
‘In contrast, staff were not always aware of the extent of its use, or they saw it as banter, so did not challenge it.
‘For a few pupils even racist terms were seen as acceptable “between friends”.’
The report added: ‘Few schools had a clear stance on the use of language or the boundaries between banter and behaviour that makes people feel threatened or hurt.’
Personal, social and health education lessons should teach pupils ‘systematically...about all aspects of individual difference and diversity, including those related to appearance, religion, race, gender, sexuality, disability and ability’.
Schools should also consider weaving teaching about diversity into all lessons, for example by studying the cross-dressing artist Grayson Perry in art lessons.
As part of the study, Ofsted visited 37 primary and 19 secondary schools and questioned 1,357 pupils.
Almost half the children surveyed said they had been bullied or picked on at their current school.
Victims were chosen for a range of reasons, including being clever, ‘posh’ or too tall or short. In further findings, Ofsted said poor attitudes among parents sometimes hampered schools’ attempts to promote an anti-bullying culture.
‘In one school, for example, 'respect' was at the heart of all their strategies to promote positive behaviour, but this had sometimes been undermined by pupils observing their parents and carers behaving in certain ways towards other parents and carers or staff,’ the report said.
Susan Gregory, Ofsted director of education and care, said: ‘Schools must develop a positive culture so all pupils learn in a happy and safe environment.
‘Teachers should receive the right training and support so they have the skills and confidence to teach pupils about diversity and the effects of bullying.’