An association of 25 girls’ schools in England and Wales has adopted a new policy to maintain the institutions’ single-sex status by refusing admissions to trans-identified biological male students.
The Girls’ Day School Trust updated its policy on gender identity last month, saying it’s “committed to single-sex education for girls,” and, therefore, admissions to the schools “are based on the prospective student’s legal sex as recorded on their birth certificate.”
“Applications from students who are legally female but who identify as trans or non-binary will be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis,” the policy states. “Single-sex schools present a particular context for transgender students. There may be cultural challenges involved in a trans student who does not identify as a girl attending a school which deliberately tailors its ethos and educational approach to cater specifically for girls.”
The policy argues that admissions policies based on gender identity instead of sex recorded on a student’s birth certificate would “jeopardise the status of GDST schools as single-sex schools under the act.”
“For this reason, GDST schools do not accept applications from students who are legally male,” the policy stresses. “We will, however, continue to monitor the legal interpretation of this exemption.”
GDST Chief Executive Cheryl Giovannoni said in a statement that its member schools “are able to operate a single-sex admissions policy, without breaching the Equality Act 2010 on the basis of an exemption relating to biological sex.”
“Under current laws and guidance, the GDST believes that an admissions policy based on gender identity rather than the legal sex recorded on a student’s birth certificate could jeopardise the status of GDST schools as single-sex schools under the act,” Giovannoni maintains.
Teacher and trans campaigner Debbie Hayton wrote an op-ed for the UnHerd titled “A Win for Common Sense at The Girls’ Day School Trust.”
“As the law stands, children in the UK cannot acquire a Gender Recognition Certificate which means they cannot change their legal sex,” Hayton wrote. “So that means that there is no question about girls’ schools excluding girls who choose to identify as boys: they are still female legally as well as biologically. Trans-identified girls are not being turned down.”
“The group being excluded are boys who identify as girls, but not because of their gender identity,” Hayton continued. “One only needs to look as far as the Equality Act 2010, which allows single-sex schools to ‘refuse to admit pupils of the opposite sex’. … Those boys remain legally male and therefore ineligible.”