Church Schools to Combat Gender-Based Bullying with New Guidelines

The Church of England’s National Society for Education has released new guidelines to tackle bullying in church schools, with a particular focus on gender-questioning students.

This updated advisory will be rolled out in September across 4,623 schools.

It builds upon the “Valuing all God’s Children” directive, first introduced in 2014, which was later updated to address homophobic bullying.

The Rt Rev Jonathan Frost, Bishop of Portsmouth, emphasized the church’s commitment to creating a safe learning environment.

He stated, “Bullying has no place in our schools. Every child deserves to learn in an environment where they are loved, supported, and respected.”

The Church’s chief education officer, Rev. Nigel Genders, highlighted the evolving nature of discussions on human sexuality and gender.

He stressed the importance of non-toxic debates for the well-being of young people, noting that terminology and understanding have changed significantly over the past decade.

Genders pointed out that the rapid transformation of the real and virtual worlds necessitates updated measures to protect students.

The new guidelines assert that bullying of LGBT+ individuals is unacceptable, regardless of differing views within the Church and society.

They provide specific protections for gender-questioning children and transgender adults, emphasizing the need for pastoral support to prevent feelings of exclusion.

The guidelines also call for proactive engagement with vulnerable students and collaboration with their families.

This initiative follows recent controversies around gender identity in church schools, including a legal review of a school’s policy on gender fluidity dressing.

Bishop Frost acknowledged the need for these updated guidelines in light of government and independent reviews.

He stressed that addressing complex issues without contributing to bullying behaviors is essential.

“Flourishing for All” will replace “Valuing all God’s Children” after final consultations and approval.

This marks a significant step towards creating safer environments in church-affiliated schools.

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