The Safe Schools Alliance is a group of concerned parents, grandparents, teachers, governors, health professionals, education professionals, and carers from more than 30 local education authority areas in the UK. We are from a wide range of backgrounds and have no religious or political affiliation.
The SSA campaign is focused on working with schools and educators to ensure that school policies meet the safeguarding needs of all students whilst taking into account the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010. We endeavour to provide clarity on the law and offer unbiased, evidence-based guidance and support where conflict between protected characteristics arises.
The physical, mental and emotional well-being of children is absolutely paramount. A collaborative approach with schools is essential to ensure a safe and supportive environment for children.
DO YOU HAVE ANY RELIGIOUS OR POLITICAL AFFILIATION?
No. We are a grassroots group of individual volunteers from a range of backgrounds. We receive no funding or donations. We are united by an interest in child welfare.
WHAT ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT?
We are concerned that schools are being advised to use policies regarding gender identity that are based on misleading or inaccurate information.
We fear that many of these policies have not been subject to proper impact assessment and may cause conflict between protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. For example, although Equality Act exemptions allow for single-sex provision to achieve a legitimate aim (such as keeping female students safe in light of alarming sexual harassment statistics reported in the recent NEU & UK Feminista’s study on sexism in schools), trans lobby groups push policies which allow males into female spaces, including in schools.
We are also deeply troubled that these policies often contradict safeguarding legislation and good practice. For example, some lobby groups advise that a child’s trans status must be subject to absolute confidentiality — including not informing parents. This directly contradicts basic information-sharing safeguarding principles.
We also fiercely object to training offered to schools by lobby groups which asserts that certain personality traits, characteristics, interests or hobbies are typical of girls whilst others are typical of boys. This is sexism. Such training dictates that children who conform to these gender stereotypes are to be labeled ‘cis’, whilst children who do not conform are labelled ‘trans’ and should ‘transition’ in order to meet societal expectations. This reinforcement of sexist gender stereotypes is regressive, restrictive, and severely limits the opportunities for children to develop into well-rounded, balanced and diverse individuals.
We also feel that lobby groups perpetuate heterosexual gender stereotypes to the extent that young people are led to believe that same-sex attraction is indicative of being transgender. As whistleblowing clinicians from the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) said, ‘it feels like conversion therapy for gay children’. This observation, made by medical professionals with first-hand experience of treatment within a gender identity clinic, is alarming. We reject the homophobic notion that children who are perceived to be heterosexual are ‘cis’ and, by extension, that children who are perceived to be homosexual are ‘trans’.
Safe Schools Alliance are deeply concerned that many organisations, including political parties and charities (such as the NSPCC) are failing to use Safer Recruitment processes and therefore risk allowing unsuitable or dangerous individuals to make decisions and influence policy regarding children and education. All schools, academies and organisations who work either directly or indirectly with children must use Safer Recruitment processes.
Safe Schools Alliance feel that changing political agendas risk certain protected characteristics being unlawfully prioritised over others. Equality legislation exists for a reason and it is important that it is upheld.
WHAT ARE YOUR AIMS?
We urge schools and other education providers to immediately review their policies to:
- ensure that ‘sex’ is listed as a protected characteristic rather than the erroneous ‘gender’
- provide clear definitions of each protected characteristic — in particular, the definition of ‘sex’ as the biological reproductive classification of humans as ‘male’ and ‘female’; and the definition of homosexuality as ‘same-sex attraction’;
- ensure that the rights of all protected characteristics are upheld and that conflict between different groups is considered in thorough impact assessments;
- ensure that statutory safeguarding guidance is upheld consistently and objectively across all protected characteristics;
- ensure that policy and teaching on gender identity does not reinforce sexist stereotypes or promote/encourage any particular ideology;
- ensure that parents are notified when single-sex provision will not be available (whilst respecting any transgender individual’s right to anonymity) so that they are able to give informed consent;
- ensure that thorough background checks are made on external organisations who provide schools with training/resources and that these meet safeguarding standards;
- account for the vulnerability of children to peer pressure & social contagion;
- highlight the dangers of gender nonconforming children seeking medical & psychological advice & support from unregulated, unqualified online sources which may include unknown adults;
- highlight the dangers of taking medication which has been obtained online without a prescription from a reputable, registered doctor or being coached for medical appointments in order to deliberately obtain a specific diagnosis/prescription;
- highlight the dangers of breast binding;
- highlight the side effects and irreversibility of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormone therapy;
- highlight that an increasing number of young people ‘detransition’ or ‘desist’ and ensure that the experiences of detransitioners are communicated to pupils for balance;
- note that children who present as trans are more likely to have additional vulnerabilities, such as ASD, or suffering trauma, abuse, or other significant change prompting psychological distress;
- reflect that same-sex attraction is not indicative of ‘gender identity’ and that conflation of the two is homophobic.