Help me challenge damaging Transgender schools guidance in Oxfordshire

by Victoria Edwards

Help me challenge damaging Transgender schools guidance in Oxfordshire

by Victoria Edwards
Victoria Edwards
Case Owner
I am crowdfunding to ensure schools and LAs consider the safety, dignity and privacy of all children when formulating transgender guidance for schools. I am a lesbian and a mother of one son.
15
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£13,192
pledged of £40,000 stretch target from 527 pledges
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Victoria Edwards
Case Owner
I am crowdfunding to ensure schools and LAs consider the safety, dignity and privacy of all children when formulating transgender guidance for schools. I am a lesbian and a mother of one son.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: Jan. 8, 2020

Moving to Judicial Review and Seeking Evidence

Firstly I hope you’ve all had an enjoyable and relaxing Christmas period and I’d like to wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year.

Thank you so much on behalf of myself, the other…

Read more

My name is Victoria Edwards and I live in Oxford with my 12 year old son. Along with a teacher and a teenage girl, we are taking action because we believe the Oxfordshire Trans Inclusion Toolkit recommended to schools and educational settings is unlawful and damaging to children. 

We believe the guidance places the rights of trans identified children above the rights of all other children and staff. It encourages staff to affirm the chosen gender identity of any child who wishes to identify into the oposite sex while closing down avenues for staff to uphold basic safeguarding principles within schools. It also encourages parental alienation and suggests that any parent who doesn’t affirm their child’s chosen gender identity may be a safeguarding risk and causing harm to their child.

We are raising funds to force Oxfordshire County Council to remove their Trans Inclusion Toolkit 2019. The guidance compels schools to allow male pupils who identify as girls to share changing rooms, toilets and dorm rooms on residential trips with female pupils - without parents’ knowledge or permission and will allow them to compete with and against female pupils in sports.

Anybody who objects to a member of the opposite sex being allowed access to toilets, changing rooms, sleeping accommodation on residential trips and to compete in single sex sports may be judged to be acting hatefully and subject to sanction and ostracism. Girls who feel uncomfortable with male bodied trans girls in their private spaces where they need privacy in a girls’ only environment, or where they would be at a physical disadvantage or in some cases in physical danger while playing sport, are completely dismissed in the document. Both children and staff will be forced to deny reality, that somebody is a member of the sex which they clearly are, which is especially confusing and upsetting for children. I also believe that this could be harmful for trans children themselves, as the guidance may breed resentment towards them and further marginalise them at a time where fitting in and feeling part of a community is of great importance to their emotional wellbeing, further intensifying their feelings of distress and alienation. 

As parents we need to raise our children to understand that it is their right to have boundaries; that they should have their bodily autonomy respected; that they should think critically and value honesty and truth; and that they should be able to express their feelings and concerns without fear and in the knowledge that their trusted adults will keep them safe, and I strongly believe that this guidance is in direct opposition to this responsibility.

The guidance overrides existing safeguarding regulations and  compels teachers to subscribe to gender ideology or risk their jobs. It say transgirls are girls, transboys are boys and should be treated such in all aspects of school life, The policy advises total affirmation of children who identify as trans, which may be detrimental to their long term physical and mental health.

I stand alongside a teacher in Oxfordshire who in unable to teach in LA schools because of the adoption of these guidelines as she will not be forced to support harmful practice, and a 13 year old girl who believes her sex based rights and protections are being overridden and will put her at risk. Both of these claimants have understandably sought anonymity. These are their words:

"I believe that gender is a pernicious social construct which limits the ambitions of everyone. This guidance forces me to act against my beliefs. Under this guidance all teachers are required to ignore sex-based protections, as set out in the Equality Act 2010, which is problematic because teachers have a statutory duty to protect children from harm. Should children suffer harm as a result of the abandonment of basic safeguarding, this opens teachers up to liability. Additionally, teachers are required to undermine parental responsibilities and rights when they should be working together in the best interests of children. This is also not conducive to good outcomes for children" - Ms A, Oxfordshire Teacher

 "I hated primary school PE because the boys didn't care and would run around in their pants and watch the girls change. All the girls ended up getting changed in the toilets which was disgusting. Now my body is changing I am really self conscious and it's awkward even in front of girls. I love sport but if boys came in and expected to be treated the same as girls I wouldn't get changed until they had gone. Also, I'm a tiny teen girl, and I'm not very good at ball sports but I do well at judo and karate and I do practice with boys. Even though my technique is good I know that many 11 year old boys can beat me on strength. If I did a competition against a trans girl of my grade I'd have no hope and they would break me". Miss B, Aged 13, Oxfordshire Student

We want to hold Oxfordshire County Council to account. This case could be ground-breaking as it has ramifications for all schools nationally. This will be the first legal case that shapes the law on how schools are to engage with transgender issues. It will be a test case that will affect the whole country and could be the one thing that protects our children from the pressure schools and local authorities have come under from political lobby groups.

We are taking action against Oxfordshire County Council because, despite promising a review and a consultation with parents who raised safeguarding concerns about their approach, they have produced guidance which is unlawful and puts children at risk. We need to initially raise £10,000 to support our action that will be of benefit to all of our children but if OCC fight us, that figure will increase. 

We are being represented by Sinclairslaw, the leading, national firm in education law.

Thank you for your support. 

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Update 2

Victoria Edwards

Jan. 8, 2020

Moving to Judicial Review and Seeking Evidence

Firstly I hope you’ve all had an enjoyable and relaxing Christmas period and I’d like to wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year.

Thank you so much on behalf of myself, the other claimants and SSA UK for all your donations thus far. We hit our initial £10,000 target just before Christmas, and we appreciate that Christmas is a particularly tight time of year when it comes to cashflow.

We have now heard back from Oxfordshire County Council and we will be preparing an application for a Judicial Review. We and the legal team are working hard behind the scenes and we will be releasing a statement very soon.

As part of our submission to the court we are seeking witness statements from people who have been affected by the guidance in question, which can be found here. If you have a story you would be willing to share with the court, please send it to: info@safeschoolsallianceuk.org. The more stories and accounts we can gather, the stronger our case will be, so we would be very grateful to hear from you.

We will need to raise a significant amount of money to fund our legal case and we would appreciate your ongoing support, whether that’s through further donations or spreading the word. Also please follow SSA UK on Twitter or Facebook for more information. 

Thank you all once again and we’ll be in touch very soon.

Kind regards

Vicki Edwards

Update 1

Victoria Edwards

Dec. 17, 2019

Over half way to initial target in 48 hours, thank you!

Thank you so much to each and every one of you who has pledged. We are more than halfway to our target after only 48 hours!

It makes it feel worthwhile to have spoken out, even though it was a hard decision for all of us. We know that if we win this it will encourage councils across the UK to review their guidance and make sure it protects all children.

If you have time please do share this with friends, family and on social media. It would mean so much to reach our target and know that we don’t have to back down.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/challenging-occ-transgender-schools-guidance/

All the details including a link to the Toolkit and a link to the Solicitors letter can be found here: https://safeschoolsallianceuk.net/legal-action/  

Thanks 

Victoria

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