Banned Christian teacher who 'misgendered' pupil says schools 'should not affirm trans pronouns' and plots appeal

24 May 2023, 16:56 | Updated: 25 May 2023, 03:04

Mr Sutcliffe said schools should not affirm trans pronouns
Mr Sutcliffe said schools should not affirm trans pronouns. Picture: LBC

By Will Taylor

A teacher who was banned from the profession for "misgendering" a pupil has told LBC he does not think schools should be "affirming" trans pronouns.

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Joshua Sutcliffe has admitted he did not use their preferred pronouns when he told a maths class "well done, girls", but said that was not intentional and he apologised straight away.

The student was born a girl but identified as a boy.

The 33-year-old teacher at The Cherwell School in Oxford failed to treat a pupil with dignity and respect, the Teaching Regulation Authority [TRA] found in a case considered the first of its kind.

It also ruled he did not protect their wellbeing when he did not use their preferred pronouns.

The body added it was "more probable than not" that he referred to the pupil using female pronouns on other occasions during his tenure at the school between 2015 and 2018.

Mr Sutcliffe was also found to have committed misconduct for expressing his opposition to gay marriage after a pupil asked him about it, and did not consider the possible impact of a statement that being gay was wrong.

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Tom Swarbrick challenges this ex-teacher, who was sacked for misgendering a pupil

Speaking to LBC's Tom Swarbrick, he said the "safeguarding of the student is paramount, and actually I don't think affirming the student's pronouns... going against biological reality, was the best thing to do at the time, I was very naive to the issue".

"And I just sort of thought, I made a decision... on reflection, I think that schools and teachers shouldn't be affirming these things," he said.

"It's a very serious path to go down and we should approach it with much caution."

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Asked about the TRA finding he made remarks about being opposed to homosexuality, he said: "I did have a gay friend that left the gay lifestyle and decided to live a Christian lifestyle and the students found out about that and I don't regret sharing that information.

"Some people make those choices and that's up to them. I don't think students should be shielded from these sorts of ideas."

He claimed he had faced scrutiny "more than most" and believed he had been targeted because the student who complained about him "had a real distaste for my views" and saw him handing out leaflets about Christianity at a Pride march.

He said he believed the school and the TRA didn't know "how to handle it" and hoped for a meeting to thrash out a way forward.

Another complaint about him showing a video to pupils that said a problem in society was that men are not masculine enough was upheld, too.

He told LBC: "Men and women have roles within society, to bring up children in the Catholic faith."

Mr Sutcliffe was banned from teaching indefinitely but can appeal to have the ban lifted from 2025.

The TRA said: "The panel was satisfied that the conduct of Mr Sutcliffe fell significantly short of the standard of behaviour expected of a teacher."

Alan Meyrick, decision maker for the TRA on behalf of the education secretary Gillian Keegan, said: "In my view, it is necessary to impose a prohibition order in order to maintain public confidence in the profession."

The TRA said he showed only limited remorse and insight into his actions' effects and Mr Meyrick added: "A published decision, in light of the circumstances in this case, that is not backed up by full remorse or insight, does not in my view satisfy the public interest requirement concerning public confidence in the profession."

Previously, Mr Sutcliffe went on TV after the pupil's parent complained about him misgendering her.

The TRA said the pupil feared being identified and felt suicidal after the interview in 2017, The Telegraph reported.

He was suspended then sacked at the time. Mr Sutcliffe intends to bring the case to the High Court, he said.