A COUNCIL has been threatened with legal action unless it scraps 'damaging' guidance about transgender inclusivity in schools.

A mum, a teacher and a 13-year-old schoolgirl from Oxfordshire are fighting to overturn Oxfordshire County Council's Trans Inclusion Toolkit - and want to sue the authority if it refuses.

The 65-page document offers guidance to schools and colleges, with advice including to allow trans pupils to use whatever toilets and changing rooms they prefer.

Oxford mum Victoria Edwards, whose 12-year-old son attends a state secondary school, said the Toolkit was 'unlawful and damaging to children'.

She has raised £7,000 this week through crowdfunding, to assist with a potential Judicial Review.

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She wrote: "The guidance compels schools to allow male pupils who identify as girls to share changing rooms, toilets and dorm rooms on residential trips with female pupils - without parents’ knowledge or permission - and allow them to compete with and against female pupils in sports.

"Girls who feel uncomfortable with male bodied trans girls in their private spaces where they need privacy in a girls’ only environment...are completely dismissed in the document."

Complaints about the Toolkit initially surfaced in February, but campaigners feel the council has not addressed their concerns and that legal action is now necessary.

The county council said it 'utterly refutes' allegations that it has jeopardised other pupils' safety.

Ms Edwards, the teacher and pupil, neither of whom have been named, have been backed by lawyers and a national campaign group.

Lawyers sent a letter to the council on Friday, calling for it to 'publicly withdraw' the Toolkit by January 3, otherwise the trio will apply for a Judicial Review.

The letter states: "The Toolkit ideologically focuses exclusively on the rights of children defined in the Toolkit as 'trans'.

"There is no recognition of the rights plainly held by other children, relating most particularly to their safety, privacy and dignity."

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More than 250 people have donated so far to the crowd-funder.

Speaking via the crowdfunding page, the Oxfordshire teacher, who does not want to be identified, said: "I believe that gender is a pernicious social construct which limits the ambitions of everyone.

"This guidance forces me to act against my beliefs."

The 13-year-old girl wrote: "I hated primary school PE because the boys didn't care and would run around in their pants and watch the girls change. All the girls ended up getting changed in the toilets, which was disgusting.

"Now my body is changing I am really self conscious and it's awkward even in front of girls."

A joint statement from the trio said the guidance 'leaves the door open for abusers to walk straight into the lives of children' by 'creating a cast of people to whom safeguarding does not apply'.

The Toolkit states: "Being trans in itself is not a safeguarding risk.

"There is nothing in statutory guidance that would prohibit trans children and young people from using the toilets or changing rooms that reflect their gender identity, or in which they feel most comfortable.

"Access to toilets that are viewed as safe spaces are crucial for all children."

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Safe Schools Alliance UK, a parent-led group, is supporting the campaigners.

The group said it is 'extremely alarming' that teachers and parents could be punished for failing to affirm a child's gender identity, and that the guidance opposes existing safeguarding protocols about single-sex provision for children.

A statement added: "This case could be ground-breaking as it has ramifications for all schools nationally. This will be the first legal case that shapes the law on how schools are to engage with transgender issues."

Legal firm Sinclairslaw is representing the three complainants.

Paul Conrathe, a solicitor from the firm, said the Toolkit guidance was 'confused'.

He added: "Central to its legal error is its bold assertion that ‘trans-girls are girls and trans-boys are boys’.

"This guidance has whole-heartedly embraced transgender ideology at the expense of the rights of others."

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The county council said it knows of the challenges faced by young people struggling with gender identity, and that schools and organisations are working hard to support them.

A spokesman added: "While we acknowledge this is a difficult and emotive area, we are confident the revised toolkit will provide helpful guidance to schools looking to support this potentially vulnerable group of young people.

"We utterly refute the suggestion that we are failing to safeguard children."

The council said it has worked with national experts and transgender people to review the Toolkit, since complaints surfaced earlier this year.

Changes were made, and approved by the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board.

It said it is formulating a response to the lawyers' letter.