Catholic girls' school tells pupils they can use 'preferred pronoun' if they're transgender

Sacred Heart High School in Hammersmith will use the preferred pronoun and name of students who do not identify as female iStock

An all-girls Catholic school has implemented a policy that allows students to use their "preferred pronoun" if they do not identify as female.

Parents of students at Sacred Heart High School in Hammersmith in west London received a letter from headteacher Marian Doyle about the change.

Doyle told parents that "as a Catholic school" they must "promote greater wholeness for transgender individuals," the Catholic Herald reported.

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The change includes "using the young person's preferred pronoun and addressing them as them with their preferred name, recognising their intent to live as the person they believe God created them to be, and refraining from any judgement."

But one parent of a girl at the school, who did not wish to be named, told the Catholic Herald: "If the letter the headteacher sent out materialises as policy and practices, it will be very confusing for the young people at the school. I see it as a very dangerous letter."

According to the Catholic Herald, the letter to parents cites the Equality Act 2010, which requires schools to help "eliminate discrimination," including in regards to "gender reassignment".

"Every child at our school is made in the image of God and is nurtured and supported to know who they are and how best to make use of their talents. We are proud of them all," Doyle said in the letter.

She added: "Our community not only has a duty to uphold and maintain its charism but also to operate within the law, and as a Catholic school we must look to ensure we respond to different situations for young people, whatever they may be, with compassion, dignity and respect."

The letter comes on the heels of increasing pressure for schools to adhere to the government's "British values" programme, the Catholic Herald reported. In June, a Jewish school failed an Ofsted inspection for refusing to teach LGBT issues.

The Catholic Education Service has also issued guidelines on homophobic bullying, which include texts copied from LGBT rights organisation publications.

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At least one parent was not in favour of the school's new policy. "If the letter the headteacher sent out materialises as policy and practices, it will be very confusing for the young people at the school," a parent who wished to remain unnamed said. "I see it as a very dangerous letter."

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