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UK News

Government awards Christian parents £22,000 in lawsuit over school transgender policies

by Tola Mbakwe

Following a five-year legal battle, a Christian couple has been awarded £22,000 in legal costs.

Nigel Rowe, 49-years-old and his wife Sally, 47- years-old, took legal action against the Department for Education (DfE) after a Church of England primary school labelled them and their six-year-old son "transphobic" for refusing to "believe" in transgender affirming policies.

The government recently decided to settle the case, after the Isle of Wight couple was granted permission at the High Court for a judicial review of the government's transgender affirming policies. 

In 2015, the Rowes voiced concerns after two boys in their sons' classes at the age of six were attending school, identifying as girls.

The school had stated that they did not "require any formal medical/psychological assessment and reporting when a pupil seeks to be treated as transgendered."

According to the Christian Legal Centre, which supported the Rowes, the parents were given an "accept it or leave" ultimatum by the school after they were told that their son would be demonstrating "transphobic behaviour" if he showed an "inability to believe a transgender person is actually a 'real' female or male" or refused to "acknowledge a transgendered person's true gender e.g. by failing to use their adopted name or using gender inappropriate pronouns."

The local Church of England diocese backed the school's position based on its 'Valuing All God's Children' guidance on challenging homophobic, bi-phobic and transphobic bullying.

The couple then chose to home-school their children and appealed to the DfE calling on the Secretary of State for Education to intervene in their case.

They also called on the DfE to scrap the Cornwall Schools Transgender Guidelines which are being held as best practice by the government.

The government rejected the complaint. But after the Rowes won the right to bring a judicial review for their case to be heard in full at the High Court this February, the DfE settled the case and awarded the Rowes £22,000 in a portion of their legal costs which they intend to donate to the Christian Legal Centre.

A DofE spokesperson told Premier in a statement: “We are working with the Equalities and Human Rights Commission to develop guidance to schools on transgender matters following feedback from the sector earlier this year.”

Nigel and Sally Rowe said: "We are delighted with the outcome and pray that it will contribute to real change in primary schools.

"The new guidance must ensure that no more children come to harm. Transgender affirming policies must end in schools and issues with gender confused children compassionately and professionally managed outside of the classroom."

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