Focus on DERA: Creating a trans inclusive environment in schools and colleges

The IOE Library has always collected documents published by government and other relevant bodies in the areas of education, training, children, and families. Today, the Official Publications Collection here at the Library is the largest of our special collections and is highly valued by our users.

In some ways official publications are no different to other areas of publishing and we have witnessed a rapid transition towards a “digital by default” approach. You may already have read our recent blog post about DERA – our online repository founded on the traditions of our printed Official Publications Collection, dedicated to preserving the digital output of government in relation to education – where we highlighted content on the subject of music education. This month, we are highlighting DERA resources that focus on transgender guidance for schools and colleges. The resources, produced by a mixture of unions, councils and charities, are designed for educational staff to support and assist trans pupils, students and colleagues.

*It is important to note that the guidance documents use the words ‘trans’ and ‘transgender’ as umbrella terms for those whose gender identity or expression differs in some way from the sex assigned to them at birth.

Written in 2012, Schools Transgender Guidance produced by The Intercom Trust and Devon & Cornwall Police, was the first transgender guidance of its kind to be incorporated into schools and colleges. Designed to inform educational staff how they can support, inform, protect and enable pupils and students questioning their gender, its chapters cover a broad range of subjects including, identity, discrimination and the school environment. The guidance also contains a small introduction to trans history and a useful booklist for children and teenagers, featuring titles that challenge gender stereotypes, introduce children to a range of family structures and are written from the perspective of trans teen characters.

Many of the suggested titles can be found in the Curriculum Resources section of the IOE Library:

Discussing different families: The Family Book by Todd Parr, Who’s in a Family? Robert Skutch, Picnic in the Park Joe Griffiths, Prince Cinders Babette Cole.

For children: The Sissy Duckling Harvey Fierstein, William’s Doll Charlotte Zolotow, My Princess Boy Cheryl Kilodavis, The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler Gene Kemp, Tutus Aren’t My Style Linda Skeers, The Boy in the Dress David Walliams

For teenagers: Luna by Julie Anne Peters, Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger

Regularly updated, The Trans Inclusion Schools Toolkit (Version 3.3) produced by Brighton & Hove City Council and the Allsorts Youth Project, was created in consultation with children, young people and their families and features case studies describing the experiences of trans students, plus parent and carer perspectives. In addition to providing information, the toolkit includes practical exercises for educators, such as a Guide to challenging homo / bi / transphobic language and gender stereotyping.

Supporting Trans and Gender Questioning Students, is a short document from The National Education Union, NEU, which discusses the first steps that teachers can take to support gender questioning students in the classroom and across the school. Trans Equality in Schools and Colleges for Teachers and Leaders, from The Teacher’s Union, NASUWT, primarily focuses on supporting trans teachers in the workplace but also discusses best practice guidance for assisting trans pupils and staff and students with family members who are transitioning.

Supporting Transgender Young People: Guidance for Schools in Scotland, produced by LGBT Youth Scotland and The Scottish Trans Alliance is a general guide designed to help primary and secondary education staff in Scotland  support transgender children and young people. Covering steps for good practice and providing practical support, it also contains information specific to Scottish Government policy and legislation. There is also a list of suggested book titles for primary and secondary pupils, some of which can be found here in the IOE Library, in Curriculum Resources:

Primary school pupils: Introducing Teddy: a story about being yourself by Jessica Walton, Are you a boy or are you a girl? by  Sarah Savage and Fox Fisher, Who are You? The Kid’s guide to gender identity  Brook Pessin-Whedbee.

Secondary school pupils: The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson, I am J by Cris Beam, If I was your girl by Meredith Russo

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