The Department for Education (DfE) has published its long-awaited draft guidance for schools and colleges on how best to support pupils questioning their gender.

Teachers and pupils in England will not be “compelled” to use a child’s preferred pronouns, the Government’s transgender guidance has said.

The non-statutory guidance also states that “parents should not be excluded” from decisions taken by a school or college relating to requests for a child to “socially transition”, such as wishes to change names, pronouns and clothing.

Kemi Badenoch, minister for women and equalities, said "schools do not have to accept a child’s request to socially transition".

Schools and colleges in England have been told there is “no general duty” to allow children to change their gender identity.

The guidance, which was delayed from the summer, will be subject to a 12-week consultation and says teachers should still be able to refer to children collectively as “girls” or “boys”.

It adds that schools should provide separate toilets for boys and girls aged eight and above, and changing rooms and showers for boys and girls who are aged 11 years or over at the start of the school year.

The guidance says: “All children should use the toilets, showers and changing facilities designated for their biological sex unless it will cause distress for them to do so.

“In these instances, schools and colleges should seek to find alternative arrangements, while continuing to ensure spaces are single-sex.”

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “This guidance puts the best interests of all children first, removing any confusion about the protections that must be in place for biological sex and single-sex spaces, and making clear that safety and safeguarding for all children must always be schools’ primary concern.

"Teachers or pupils should not be pressured into using different pronouns"

“Parents’ views must also be at the heart of all decisions made about their children, and nowhere is that more important than with decisions that can have significant effects on a child’s life for years to come.”

Kemi Badenoch, minister for women and equalities, said: “This guidance is intended to give teachers and school leaders greater confidence when dealing with an issue that has been hijacked by activists misrepresenting the law.

“It makes clear that schools do not have to accept a child’s request to socially transition, and that teachers or pupils should not be pressured into using different pronouns.”