A THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD girl who took Oxfordshire County Council to the High Court over its 'unfair' transgender guidance for schools has seen the guidebook scrapped.

The council has announced it has withdrawn its Trans Inclusion Toolkit, meaning it has also derailed the judicial review of the guidance due to be held in the coming months.

The Oxfordshire schoolgirl who brought the challenge has won her battle – but she says the council still hasn't apologised or admitted it was wrong.

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The county council issued its Trans Inclusion Toolkit last year, advising teachers in schools and colleges on how transgender students should be treated.

The guide said that transgender children should be allowed to use the changing rooms, dorms and toilets of their preferred gender.

That meant if child born as a boy said they identified as a girl, they could be allowed to use the girls' toilets.

Oxford Mail:

One 13-year-old girl brought a legal challenge against the guidance, saying it was unfair and made her feel powerless, and just last month a judge allowed her to challenge the county council in a judicial review.

Now the council has withdrawn the whole toolkit, and said it will instead follow incoming national guidance on how transgender children should be treated instead.

Because the toolkit is no longer an official document, it means the judicial review can no longer go ahead.

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The teenager said the case ‘had a very significant impact’ on her.

She added: “I am very surprised that the council never asked the opinion of girls in Oxfordshire about what we thought before they published the toolkit.

“Although they have withdrawn it now, they haven’t apologised to me or said they were wrong. I would like to know what OCC are going to do to make schools a safe place for girls going forward.”

The teenager’s court case had been supported by a group called the Safe Schools Alliance, which had crowdfunded to support the judicial review.

Oxford Mail:

The alliance describes itself as a network of parents and teachers concerned about safeguarding and were worried about abuses which could stem from the guidance.

Spokeswoman Tanya Carter said: “We welcome the decision from Oxfordshire County Council to withdraw their ‘Trans Inclusion Toolkit’. However, we remain deeply concerned at the widespread undermining of child safeguarding and misrepresentation of the Equality Act that this case has revealed.”

A human rights lawyer hired by SSA UK for the case said the council ‘had done the right thing’ in withdrawing the toolkit.

Paul Conrathe, human rights solicitor from Sinclairslaw said: “The High Court has already considered the toolkit and ruled that it is arguable that it is unlawful.”

READ AGAIN about when and why the teenage girl was granted a judicial review

An Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said the authority would soon be adopting UK-wide guidance on transgender children being written up by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

They said: “Safeguarding children and young people is a critical part of our work.

“The Trans Inclusion Toolkit, which was published in November 2019, has been an important part of that work.

Oxford Mail:

“However, the guidance in the Trans Inclusion Toolkit will soon be superseded by guidance from the EHRC. We anticipate that the EHRC will provide UK-wide information and resources to support trans and gender-questioning young people.”

“As we will be adopting this new national guidance, we have taken the decision to withdraw our toolkit and to withdraw from the judicial review of the toolkit that was due to be held in the coming months.”

The council spokesman said that there were huge demands for frontline social care services because of the coronavirus pandemic and continuing the court case would have ‘diverted valuable resources away from this urgent work’.

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The spokesman added: “We are very much aware of the challenges faced by young people who feel they are not the gender they were assigned at birth. We will do our utmost to safeguard these potentially vulnerable young people and help the schools who support them as part of our critical safeguarding work.”

A 2017 report by the LGBT charity Stonewall said that young transgender people often suffer from worse mental health problems than their peers and have a difficult experience of life in school.

The report said more than four in five trans young people have self-harmed, and more than two in five trans young people have attempted to take their own life.