Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Learners

Created on: 28 Feb 2019 | Last modified: 04 Apr 2023

Some children and young people within our education system do not identify with the sex assigned to them at birth.

These young people may be transgender, or ‘trans’, which is an umbrella term for those whose gender identity or expression differs in some way from their sex. They may use the term ‘non-binary’ (NB), to mean they do not identify exclusively as a boy or as a girl.

Many schools have taken significant strides towards LGBT+ inclusion, however these concepts may be new to some educators. The EIS has provided guidance to members on supporting LGBT learners, and staff, over a long number of years, and continue to stress the need for appropriate professional learning on equality matters as the best means of enabling teachers to engage with and utilise guidance.

In 2017, The Scottish Trans Alliance, and LGBT Youth Scotland (which is the largest youth and community-based organisation for LGBT and intersex people in Scotland), produced comprehensive guidance on supporting transgender young people.

The guidance aimed to help teachers and other education staff support any young person whose gender identity or expression differs in some way from expectations placed upon them, regardless of how they identify themselves.

This guidance was updated by the Scottish Government in 2021 to include further references to the UNCR, wellbeing centred approaches, and provides further technical details and advice. The EIS welcomes the adjustments made to the guidance, which reflect the equal rights of all young people to be safe, included and supported in school. 

The updated guidance is available here.

Member briefing on the updated Scottish Government Guidance on Supporting Transgender Pupils in Schools

The EIS has a commitment to high standards of education rooted in equality and inclusivity. Young people have the right to learn, and teachers and lecturers have the right to work in an educational environment that is free from discrimination, where the rights of all are upheld.

This briefing paper has two primary aims:

Read the member briefing here.