Welsh schools and trans guidance – hung out to dry

Merched Cymru’s research shows how schools in Wales are compromising children’s safety and well being, and exposing themselves to the risk of legal challenge. In the absence of clear, legally compliant guidance from Welsh Government on making decisions regarding gender distressed or questioning pupils, schools are taking widely varying approaches, and often reaching for toolkits from transgender campaigning organisations that have already been withdrawn following legal challenge.

Download the full report:

“Hung Out To Dry: The impact of Welsh Government inaction on gender distressed children, their families and their schools.”

The report is based on Freedom of Information requests to a representative sample of schools across Wales, and one-to-one interviews with parents, teachers and other school staff. Continue reading “Welsh schools and trans guidance – hung out to dry”

Vale of Glamorgan: Transgender inclusion toolkit

Merched Cymru responded to the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s consultation on a new ‘Transgender inclusion toolkit’, highlighting safeguarding and legal risks with the recommended approach. See our response here [PDF].

Recent news coverage has highlighted a range of ways that schools in England are compromising safeguarding and violating children’s rights by facilitating children to access changing rooms, toilets, sports and sleeping accommodation intended for the opposite sex, by changing children’s names and pronouns without informing parents. We know the same is happening in Wales. Continue reading “Vale of Glamorgan: Transgender inclusion toolkit”

Every girl needs a best friend

Adolescence is a tricky period in a girl’s life. From rapid changes in your body to the prospect of adult relationships it’s a time of huge upheaval – all too often coming alongside exams and other academic pressures. Fortunately, girls are often surrounded by allies to help them through this passage of their lives: their friends. The friendships you form in your teens stay with you your whole life – it’s a deep bond, burned in deeper than your first kiss.

We turn to our friends when we need help in this period of our lives. Parents can be too busy, or too old, too tied up in their own problems. Teachers don’t always seem to have the time. And some things are just too embarrassing to talk about with an adult. They wouldn’t get it. But your friends do: they’re navigating the same sea, after all. Continue reading “Every girl needs a best friend”

The importance of sex-based language, data and strategies for transformation

Men At Work trains professionals who work with boys and young men to facilitate constructive dialogues with them about safety, empathy and respect – for themselves, for their male peers and for women and girls.

Our mission is to empower – through knowledge, skills and confidence – a widening range of professionals to help boys and young men achieve their potential as positive assets to their peer-groups, their places of education, their communities and, in time, their own partners and any eventual new families. The goals: fostering violence-free relationships, families and communities and helping to remove obstacles to safe, empathetic and respectful lives – all through constructive, reflective dialogue. Continue reading “The importance of sex-based language, data and strategies for transformation”

Welsh schools caught short on toilet provision

For context, I am a parent of two children at school in South Wales. One in primary school, and one at high school.

About six years ago, several things caught my attention.

One was an increased public awareness of the extent that women and girls are victims of sexual harassment and assault. Movements like ‘Me Too’ and reports in publications like the TES highlighted a culture in which girls seemed to be subjected to sexist/misogynist bullying, ‘unwanted touching’ and sexual assault in schools. It was endemic, and overwhelming. And schools seemed to accept this almost as ‘standard’. Girls of school age I knew seemed almost resigned to it. This appalled me. Continue reading “Welsh schools caught short on toilet provision”