The attorney-general, Suella Braverman, has declared that schools do not have to accommodate children who want to change gender under current legislation.
The government is currently drawing up formal guidance for schools on gender dysphoria and children who identify as transgender.
In an interview with the Times, Braverman QC said the law states that under-18s cannot legally change their sex, which enables schools to treat all of their pupils by the gender of their birth.
The Conservative MP for Fareham said: “Under-18s cannot get a gender recognition certificate, under-18s cannot legally change sex. So again, in the context of schools, I think it’s even clearer. A male child who says in a school that they are a trans girl, that they want to be female, is legally still a boy or a male. And schools have a right to treat them as such under the law.
“They don’t have to say, ‘OK, we’re going to let you change your pronoun or let you wear a skirt or call yourself a girl’s name.’”
Braverman, who was appointed attorney general in February 2020, added that she believes that teachers needed to take a “much firmer line” on the issue and suggested that some schools were encouraging gender dysphoria through an “unquestioning approach”.
The attorney general also discussed girls’ toilets and changing rooms having special protections as safe spaces if a scenario arises of a child born male wanting to use them.
She said: “I would say to the school that they don’t have to and that they shouldn’t allow that child to go into girls’ toilets.”
Braverman added the Equality Act contained “very important single-sex exemptions” that protected spaces such as girls’ lavatories and changing rooms.