Northumberland is one of the first counties in the UK to develop a toolkit for schools to provide guidance when supporting gender-diverse children and young people.
The number of people in Northumberland and across the UK who identify as gender-diverse is rising rapidly, not because they didn’t previously exist, but because they are no longer hidden and they now feel supported to and comfortable to live with the gender identity with which they align.
With growing numbers of gender-diverse young people, it is important that schools are safe and welcoming environments for all young people. Northumberland County Council is one of the first to develop a toolkit for use with school staff and teachers to provide information and guidance on how to ensure they create welcoming and inclusive environments that support pupils regardless of the gender with which they align themselves.
The toolkit draws upon the experience of schools across the region and of gender-variant people who live, learn and work in Northumberland along with using practical examples of those who have been supporting them. The toolkit is an online publication and is continually kept up to date with new information and resources.
A parent of a young person in Northumberland said: "In my experience of my child being diagnosed with gender dysphoria, I feel schools are willing and do work towards creating a supportive environment for all pupils, however, they can always benefit from more support, information and resources to fully understand the issues that affect young trans people.
"Schools need to have a point of contact for the child and the parent; someone willing to learn more and to ensure that the school really is being an inclusive, supportive place. I welcome this toolkit and feel this is a valuable resource for schools, providing up-to-date information in an easy-to-use format, giving the school an excellent knowledge base to refer to and help guide them through helping their trans pupils while developing a safe and secure learning environment at school."
Coun Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children's services at Northumberland County Council, said: "This toolkit is a valuable resource for schools and those working with young people to help support those who identify as gender-diverse.
"It is important that we all work together to create an inclusive environment for everyone and the council is proud to be one of the first local authorities across the UK to have developed a toolkit specifically aimed at helping to support gender-diverse young people. It is a great tool that uses practical experiences to provide information and resources and builds on the good work already carried out within schools across the region."