A school’s trust that operates a Northwood private school has made the decision to no longer accept students who were legally born male but identify as transgender.
The Girls Day School’s Trust (GDST), which operates Northwood College for Girls amongst 26 other schools, made the decision to change its gender identity policy last December.
Since then, a petition, set up by someone claiming to be an anonymous pupil at one of the schools, is trying to get the group to reverse it’s decision, with more than 4,600 signatures so far.
Despite receiving both praise and criticism for the decision from various people, the GDST has now accused multiple parties of having “hijacked” their decision for their own agenda.
In a statement, GDST CEO Cheryl Giovannoni said: “Our schools have a responsibility to support trans students by making sure measures are in place to ensure any needs they have are addressed. The underlying aim of our policy is to help staff provide this support. We wrote our policy because we want to make the best choices for the long-term wellbeing of our trans students.
“We regret the fact that media reporting and commentary in response to our policy update may have caused upset amongst people within GDST. We did not intend to make an ideological stand on this issue, or for our policy to be made public and hijacked by some parties as a vehicle to convey their messages in this sensitive debate.
“We have tried to steer a course that remains true to the GDST’s single-sex ethos while ensuring a supportive environment for students transitioning or exploring their gender identity.
We are listening to the concerns that have been raised. We will be listening carefully to students – valued members of our school community.”
When asked by NORTHWOOD&RUISLIPnews about the decision, Lui Asquith of trans youth charity Mermaids said: “Schools are ignoring the impact they are having on real lives when they align themselves with such discriminatory positions.
“At the heart of this is a young person who wants to learn, as themselves – it’s actual very simple when you think of it like that.
“We look back in history and can recall gender being a reason access was denied to girls and now we have that institution denying access to another marginalised group of learners. When will we learn?”