Trans inclusion approaches in Wales’ schools

Hung out to Dry report coverRecent years have seen an explosion in the number of children questioning their gender. Schools are under tremendous pressure – in the absence of clear guidance schools in Wales are compromising children’s safety and wellbeing, and exposing themselves to the risk of legal challenge, often reaching for highly ideological and legally shaky toolkits from transgender campaigning organisations.

We’re calling on the Welsh Government, local authorities and schools to take a safeguarding-first approach, protecting the safety and rights of children who experience distress about their gender, and also their peers.

You can find out more about the risky approaches being taken by many schools in Wales, and the consequences for children and their families in our report “Hung Out To Dry: The impact of Welsh Government inaction on gender distressed children, their families and their schools.”

What is Merched Cymru doing?

Welsh Government originally promised, in its LGBTQ+ action plan, to release guidance for schools for consultation in summer 2023. Our research, based on Freedom of Information requests to schools across Wales, was originally intended to inform our response to the consultation. However, given the continued delays in releasing guidance, we decided to release it in March 2024 to raise awareness of the problems: that children are being socially transitioned at school, in some cases without their parents’ knowledge, and allowed to use opposite sex facilities, sleeping accommodation on trips, and take part in opposite sex sports. Normal safeguarding rules are being set aside in a way that would not happen in any other circumstance.

Our report gained media coverage in the Telegraph, Mail and Express.

We’re sending a copy to all the local authorities in Wales, and will draw on the findings to take part in the public consultation on the guidance when the time comes.

What can you do?

  1. Write to your school and ask what their policy is in relation to single-sex toilets and changing room provision, and to overnight accommodation on school trips? If they allow children to use opposite sex facilities, ask who is taking legal responsibility for this decision and any consequences? Send them a copy of: Sex and gender identity: keep your pupils safe and comply with the law – guidance for schools in Wales produced by Sex Matters and Transgender Trend. You can use this form and Sex Matters will send them a copy for you.

If you live in the Vale of Glamorgan – see our post on the new Vale of Glamorgan guidance here.

  1. Write to the education lead at your local authority to ask the same questions.
  2. Watch out for the public consultation on new guidance from Welsh Government – sign up for our newsletter and we’ll let you know when it’s released.
Here is a template letter:

Dear name of Headteacher / Head of year

My child, name, is in class/form/year.

I am writing to ask about the school’s approach to supporting children who are questioning their gender. I’m concerned to hear that many schools in Wales are enabling social transition at school sometimes without the knowledge of parents, and are facilitating children to access opposite sex facilities, sleeping accommodation and sports.

Please see the report from Merched Cymru: Welsh schools and trans guidance – hung out to dry – Merched Cymru

Please could you let me know:

Is the school following any formal policy or guidance document? If so, could you share it?

Does the school allow social transition (change of name, pronouns)? If so, what criteria do you use for such a decision?

Would the school involve parents in such a process?

Does the school allow children who identify as trans to access toilets, changing rooms, sleeping accommodation or sports of the opposite sex? If so, based on what criteria?


Please let us know how you get on.

We’ll collate that information and use it to strengthen the campaign.

Email us at [email protected].