Boys allowed to wear skirts in 80 gender neutral schools

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Dozens of schools have adopted “gender neutral” uniform policies that allow boys to wear skirts.

Around 40 state secondary and 40 state primary schools have changed their dress rules in a drive to be more sensitive to transgender pupils.

They have either dropped references to girls and boys, or have altered them to say pupils can dress in the uniform in which they feel most comfortable.

It will mean children as young as five will be able to “come out” as trans without breaking uniform rules.

Diversity campaigners have warned schools that current policies risk discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pupils. But Christian groups fear that introducing a choice of uniform could confuse youngsters.

Allens Croft School in Birmingham is believed to be the first state primary to declare it has a “gender neutral” uniform.

Its rules state that boys can wear a grey or black skirt or pinafore while girls can wear grey or black trousers.

It says it aims “to promote each child’s right to express their gender and personality in whichever way feels right for them”.

Head Paula Weaver said there were pupils who do not dress along traditional gender lines. The primary is designated a “best practice school” by the charity Educate and Celebrate, which has received £200,000 from the Department for Education to give diversity training to schools.

Weaver told The Sunday Times: “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 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.”

Elly Barnes, founder of Educate and Celebrate, said so far about 80 schools had adopted gender neutral uniform codes. They are in a range of areas including Cheshire, Southampton, Durham, Bristol, Chichester, Hartlepool and London.

Barnes said: “In some schools, when I have the initial staff meeting and talk about gender-neutral uniforms, the reaction is ‘we can’t do it, parents won’t like it’.”

“But as soon as they do it, they find out there is absolutely no difference. You don’t get boys coming in to schools suddenly wearing skirts. But it just gives that space for it not to be an issue if there are trans kids.”

Andrea Williams, of Christian Concern, said the gender-neutral uniforms could mean schools were pushing an agenda on to impressionable minds. She said: “We are increasingly seeing boundaries being overstepped and it is concerning.”

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