Teachers at all girls’ (or boys) schools should consider addressing their charges simply as “pupils” or “students” rather than girls (or boys), to be more inclusive to transgender children.
Caroline Jordan, president of the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA), said that, in some circumstances, staff should use gender-neutral language.
Some single-sex schools have already adopted more neutral language in situations such as assemblies and others are considering doing so, said Mrs Jordan, who is headmistress of Headington School in Oxford.
The choice of words is an important part of a “complex pastoral issue” increasingly faced by schools, she added.
Gendered Intelligence, a group which runs “trans awareness training” sessions, was invited to address a GSA conference for head teachers. The group recommends avoiding terms such as “young ladies”.
“Where relevant to the audience, in assemblies, for example, instead of saying ‘Girls, go to lessons,’ staff should consider saying ‘Pupils, go to lessons’ or ‘Students, go to lessons.’
“Every year there are more and more young people posing questions around their gender identity. I do not want anyone to think that girls’ or boys’ schools are invested in one way of being a girl or one way of being a boy.”
Jay Stewart, of Gendered Intelligence, told The Sunday Times: “Young people want to feel they belong in their school environment and they are not made to feel ‘other’ or weirdos or freaks.”
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