Merched Cymru Merched Cymru
Merched Cymru is a grassroots organisation of women in Wales working to protect and promote the rights of women and girls.
Legal expert says trans toolkits breach human rights and equality law

In today's Observer, it was revealed that a 'trans toolkit' in use in Brighton and Hove has been identified as in breach of human rights and equality law. Toolkits based on the same template were formally adopted by the Vale of Glamorgan Council earlier this year (see below) and are provided to schools in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot by the West Glamorgan Safeguarding Board.

The legal opinion from Karon Monaghan KC, an expert in discrimination law, sets out how the toolkit misleads schools about their legal obligations and directs them to act unlawfully. As well as putting children at risk of harm, schools following the toolkit risk legal action. 

She concludes that:

The guidance in the Toolkit on safeguarding is, then inadequate, with the risk that schools will fail properly to discharge their safeguarding duty in respect of all children, including trans identified children...A school that implements the guidance in the Toolkit is very likely to act unlawfully in the respects set out above. Further, the Toolkit encourages and sanctions such unlawful conduct and/or misdirects schools as to their legal obligations and as such and to this extent, it is itself unlawful.

Her full opinion is available here.

The National Association of Head Teachers told the Observer: “We are particularly concerned that, as it is currently drafted, aspects of the guidance may leave schools at ‘high risk’ of successful legal challenges.”

Similar toolkits are in use in Wales. Our research report 'Hung Out to Dry' identified the use of problematic and discredited resources in Wales' schools.

More on the problems with the Vale of Glamorgan trans toolkit: 

Despite some positive changes, the most recent iteration of the Vale of Glamorgan trans toolkit leaves us with many concerns.

These include:

  • A 'case-by-case' approach that undermines safeguarding
  • A lack of clarity around informing parents
  • A limited presentation of the legislation
  • Downplaying the risk to girls

To these concerns we can now add a warning: lawsuits against the Vale of Glamorgan Education Authority based on the existing trans toolkit have a strong chance of success.

As we observed in our report, Hung Out to Dry, Welsh schools have been abandoned by a lack of support from Welsh Government, which has failed to provide clear, legally compliant guidance, leading to a landscape where 'zombie' toolkits - those which have been discredited and withdrawn - remain in use. 

Welsh Government needs to act before a legal case forces their hand.

What we’re doing 

We’re writing to schools in the areas covered by the Vale Council and the West Glamorgan Safeguarding Board to reiterate the problems with the toolkit, and make sure that they’ve seen the new legal opinion from Karon Monaghan KC.

What you can do

Wherever in Wales you are, you can raise this issue with your school and councillors. There’s more info, and a template letter, on our website.

If you have any queries, ideas or information to pass on, please contact us at [email protected].

Trans Toolkits campaign