One of the top grammar schools in Britain has slapped a ban on teachers from describing pupils as ‘girls’ over fears it will offend transgender pupils.
Altrincham Grammar School for Girls in Manchester has written to parents to advise them of the changes, which will see staff now use “gender-neutral language” when addressing or talking about children.
Girls at the 1,350-pupil school will instead be addressed as ‘students’.
Principal Stephanie Gill told parents that they did not want pupils to be hurt by being “misgendered” by any usage of the “g-word”.
She said that the changes were being made because of “the challenges facing our students who are questioning their gender identity or who do not identify as girls”.
Ms Gill added: “We are working to break ingrained habits in the way we speak to and about students, particularly referring to them collectively as ‘girls’…
“Staff have embraced these changes and are doing their best to implement this new policy.”
One parent, who asked not to be named, reacted with bemusement at the change.
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They said: “When I opened the letter I wasn’t sure if it was a joke or not. It seems a bit potty to me.
“They are talking about diversity, but it’s a girls only school. How does that work?”
Local reaction is mixed, with one resident telling the BBC: “It’s ridiculous. We live in an age where we have to respect people’s views and if people have issues around gender and sexuality we have to understand that.
Altrincham Grammar School for Girls should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Banning use of the term girls to describe girls. Joke
— Chris Jones (@CF_Jones) January 9, 2018
They are no longer going to refer to students at altrincham grammar school for girls as girls anymore, it would be funny if they weren’t serious !!!
— jordan (@jordan69064270) January 9, 2018
Incredibly stupid that Altrincham Grammar School for Girls now cannot call them girls for fear of transgender. World gone mad.
— liz kahn (@kahnliz) January 10, 2018
Yeah god forbid teachers actually respect their students gender identity – people getting her up about the #altygirls news need to calm down – it takes very little effort to change language for teachers but such effort could mean the world to a trans student
— Hannah Dawson (@HannahL_Dawson) January 9, 2018
“But girls should be referred to as girls.”
Manchester resident Hannah Dawson, the former editor of The Tab student newspaper, supported the changes, saying: “God forbid teachers actually respect their students gender identity – people getting her up about the news need to calm down – it takes very little effort to change language for teachers but such effort could mean the world to a trans student.”
A statement issued by the school said: “It’s important our students feel comfortable and able to bring their true selves to the learning environment.
“We welcome and celebrate diversity at our school and we will look at any measure, however small, to ensure the wellbeing of our staff and students.”
Altrincham Grammar came sixth in the Sunday Times list of best state schools in the country, with all of its students being awarded A*-C grades in last year’s GCSE exams.