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Leading group of girls' schools says it 'will not accept transgender pupils over fears admissions policies based on gender' will 'jeopardise status as single-sex institutions' as union calls on Government for new guidance

*  The Girls' Day School Trust, which represents 23 private schools and two academies, updated its gender identity policy guidance document last month
*  GDST said its schools do not accept applications from pupils who are legally biologically male
*  Said having policy on 'gender identity' would 'jeopardise' their status under Equality Act

By Harry Howard For Mailonline

Published: 02:01, 2 January 2022 | Updated: 09:33, 2 January 2022

They said that having a policy on 'gender identity' rather than the sex recorded on a pupil's birth certificate would 'jeopardise the status of GDST schools as single-sex schools' under the 2010 Equality Act.  However, a female pupil who begins to transition while already at one of the GDST's schools should be supported to remain there for as long as they want to, the document adds.  The GDST, which counts institutions including Greater London's 137-year-old Sutton High School among its members, said the guidance was drawn up 'in collaboration with experts, teachers and students'.  However, teaching union the Association of School of College Leaders (ASCL), which represents headteachers, last night called on the Government to issue clearer guidance for schools for what to do when a pupil says they are transgender.  Julie McCulloch of the Association of School and College Leaders told The Telegraph that as more children 'come out' as transgender, headteachers are forced to intervene in the controversial debate about sex and gender.  'It is a really big issue and the lack of formal guidance for schools is something that we are concerned about,' she said.

School leaders have said that, without national guidance on transgender issues, schools are left relying on lobby groups.  The GDST's guidance was reportedly first published in 2016 but was updated and shared with member schools at early in December last year.  The body's fears are centred around the fact that it is only able to operate a single-sex admissions policy without breaching the Equality Act because of an exemption related to biological sex.  The GDST believes that an admissions policy based on gender identity rather than the legal sex recorded on a student’s birth certificate would jeopardise the status of GDST schools as single-sex schools under the act,' the guidance states.  For this reason, GDST schools do not accept applications from students who are legally male.  We will, however, continue to monitor the legal interpretation of this exemption.' 

Single sex schools face a dilemma over what to do if a pupil applies on the basis of their gender identity rather than their biological sex.  Ms McCulloch said this is a 'very difficult area' for a headteacher to deal with.
The 25 schools that make up the Girls' Day School Trust in the UK

Belvedere Academy, Liverpool - Head: Julie Taylor Fee: N/A

Birkenhead High School Academy, Wirral - Head: Rebecca Mahony Fee: N/A

Blackheath High School, Lnd - Head: Carol Chandler-Thompson Fee: £5,882

Brighton Girls, Brighton - Head: Rosie McColl Fee: £5,111

Bromley High School, London - Head: Angela Drew Fee: £6071

Croydon High School, London - Head: Emma Pattison Fee: £5,934

Howell's School, Cardiff - Head: Sally Davis Fee: £4,940

Kensington Prep School, Lnd - Head: Caroline Hulme-McKibbin Fee: £6,131

Newcastle High School for Girls - Head: Michael Tippett Fee: £4,559

Northwood College for Girls, London - Head: Rebecca Brown Fee: £5,912

Norwich High School for Girls, Norwich - Head: Alison Sefton Fee: £5,098

Notting Hill and Ealing High School - Head: Matthew Shoults Fee: £6,593

Nottingham Girls High School - Head: Julie Keller Fee: £4,766

Oxford High School - Head: Marina Gardiner-Legge Fee: £5,521

Portsmouth High School, Portsmouth - Head: Jane Prescott Fee: £4896

Putney High School, London - Head: Suzie Longstaff Fee: £6,804

Royal High School, Bath - Head: Kate Reynolds Fee: £4,987

Sheffield Girls School, Sheffield - Head: Nina Gunson Fee: £4,452

Shrewsbury High School, Shrewsbury - Head: Jo Sharrock Fee: £5,070

South Hampstead High School, London - Head: Vicky Bingham Fee: £6,690

Streatham and Clapham High School - Head: Millan Sachania Fee: £6,260

Sutton High School, London - Head: Beth Dawson Fee: £6,054

Sydenham High School, London - Head: Katherine Woodcock Fee: £5,946

Wimbledon High School, London - Head: Fionnuala Kennedy Fee: £6,772

*All schools fees listed are for senior pupils