In Brief

State schools to let boys wear skirts to class

Gender-neutral uniform code hailed by diversity campaigners despite religious concerns

wd-school_uniform.jpg

New rules brought in by 80 state schools will allow boys to wear skirts and girls to wear trousers under a gender-neutral uniform policy.

As part of a government-funded drive for schools to be more sensitive to children questioning their gender, the schools have either dropped references to girls and boys in their dress code or have rewritten it to say pupils can dress in the uniform in which they feel most comfortable.

This follows a move earlier this year by some independent schools which adopted a transgender-friendly dress policy.

While the government directive has been hailed by diversity campaigners, who have long said that current school uniform policy discriminates against LGBT pupils, Christian organisations have raised concerns. They say "introducing a choice of uniform could confuse young children and lead older pupils to question their identities at a time when they need reassurance", says The Sunday Times.

Chief executive of Christian Concern Andrea Williams said that the introduction of unisex toilets and gender-neutral uniforms could mean "schools were pushing an agenda onto impressionable minds and setting a precedent for other schools".

She added: "We are increasingly seeing boundaries being overstepped and it is concerning."

But Birmingham head teacher Paula Weaver, whose school has introduced the new policy, said: "Everybody has the right to be themselves - that was the impetus for it.

"We do lots of work through literature and drama and we talk to children about the fact that we have someone who was assigned male at birth who is saying, 'I'm a girl.' It's about being open with them and about everyone feeling OK."

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