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Christian teacher accused of 'misgendering' pupil takes appeal to High Court

by Premier Journalist
Joshua Sutcliffe headteacher looking forward.png - Banner image
Image: Christian Concern

A Maths teacher who lost his job after using the ‘wrong’ pronoun for a pupil has taken his appeal to the High Court.

Joshua Sutcliffe was banned from teaching a year ago by the Teaching Regulation Authority after allegedly misgendering a girl who was using male pronouns.

He had said “well done girls” to a group including the aggrieved pupil, only to apologise a few moments later when he realised the child was among them.

But the 32-year-old, who taught at a school in Oxford, was deemed to have brought the profession into disrepute, after an investigation and disciplinary hearing.

Mr Sutcliffe brought his case to the High Court this week, and his lawyer Michael Phillips argued that it was a breach of Mr Sutcliffe's rights to find that he was required to use preferred pronouns.

Mr Phillips added that Mr Sutcliffe had a right “not to believe gender identity belief”.

Mr Sutcliffe, who said his personal life has come under scrutiny as a result of the case, wrote on X: 'It is an important day for freedom in the U.K. This perverse decision by the TRA must be overturned.’

Campaigning organisation Christian Concern (CC), which is supporting Mr Sutcliffe in his appeal, said that the Government’s draft transgender guidance for schools, published only a few months ago, states that “No teacher or pupil should be compelled to use these preferred pronouns and it should not prevent teachers from referring to children collectively as ‘girls’ or ‘boys,’ even in the presence of a child that has been allowed to change their pronouns.”

CC said it has discovered that the TRA became aware of Mr Sutcliffe’s case when a school he previously worked at referred him under the Prevent strategy. Prevent is a government strategy aimed at people at risk of joining extremist groups or undertaking terrorist activities.

The Department for Education, which accepted the TRA's recommendation to ban Mr Sutcliffe, opposes the appeal bid, arguing it has been brought too late and has 'no merit'.

Government lawyers said Mr Sutcliffe had failed 'to distinguish between his role as a teacher and his activities as a preacher'.

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