Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Questions (171)

Ruth Coppinger


171. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a directive will issue to schools regarding the facilitation of transgender pupils in the education system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4925/18]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department recognises that schools should be safe and supportive environments for all students. In order to support schools in developing a positive whole-school approach the Department has produced a range of guidance documents and has also supported the provision of guidance by civil society organisations. 

 “Being LGBT in School – A Resource for Post-Primary Schools to Prevent Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying and Support LGBT Students”, which was developed by the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) with the support of the Department, provides guidance in relation to supporting LGBT students in schools. The resource, which is available on the Department’s website, includes a section that addresses the specific support needs of students who identify as transgender. The non-governmental organisation, Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) provided advice and support to ensure that this information is both practical and respectful to the needs of young people who are transgender.

Other relevant documents include the Wellbeing in Post Primary Schools Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention (2013) and the Wellbeing in Primary Schools Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion (2015), which aim to provide support to schools in promoting well-being and positive mental health among students. In addition, revised Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools, which were issued to schools in 2013, contain specific references to homophobic and transphobic bullying.

The Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) also has a range of resources available, including guidance for teachers and schools in supporting LGBT students.