Schools ‘clamouring’ for transgender guidance

NI Childrens Commissioner - Koulla Yiasouma
NI Childrens Commissioner - Koulla Yiasouma
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The Northern Ireland children’s commissioner has said schools have been “clamouring” for new guidelines on how best to support transgender young people.

The Education Authority say the new guidelines for schools in Northern Ireland represents “emerging good practice” and “should be considered carefully”.

The guidelines are non-statutory and schools can choose whether or not they wish to adopt a different policy from that set out by the Education Authority.

The document is around 60 pages long and is mostly aimed at post-primary schools.

It recommends schools grant access to “toilets which match their gender identity, unless there is a good reason not to do so”.

The Commissioner for Children and Young People, Koulla Yiasouma, said the advice would be welcomed by schools.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster, she said: “I don’t think it is controversial that the education authority is offering guidance to schools because schools in Northern Ireland have been clamouring and asking for guidance.

“They’ve had to, on their own or in a cluster, come up with how they should respond to children and young people who come and say ‘I’m not comfortable in the gender I was born and I’m looking to transition’.

“The way the EA has done it has been incredibly helpful.”

The children’s commissioner added: “The guidance is also very clear. If they can accommodate the child’s preferences they should.”