Schools “urgently” need guidance from the Government to help them handle the “minefield” of the gender debate, Ofsted’s chief has said.

Chief inspector Amanda Spielman said there is a “very considerable” burden on headteachers trying to navigate “deeply contested issues”, given the “evolution in the interpretation” of the protected characteristics in equality law.

There is currently “very limited guidance” available to schools on gender matters, she said, with new advice from the Department for Education expected “some time around the end of the year”.

Ms Spielman said she had not yet seen a draft of this document, but stressed it is “very important” for schools to understand that the “fundamental principles” of safeguarding continue to apply regardless of whether a child is exploring their gender identity.

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