The Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) has ruled that a teacher was guilty of “unacceptable professional conduct” for expressing and debating the Church of England’s (CofE) own position on gender and marriage in a CofE school.
Bishop Justus CofE School in Bromley, Kent had incorporated into its Religious Education (RE) teaching for 11 and 12 year-olds materials introducing children to gender identities such as pansexual, asexual, intersex and transgender, plus Stonewall inspired films and political slogans such as “Equality is a strength, Diversity is our power, Inclusion is a necessity”. The lessons included themes that suggest children can be born in the wrong body.
However, Glawdys Leger, 43, a specialist Modern Foreign Languages teacher, refused to teach the lessons as she deemed them to be promoting extreme LGBT ideology that was harmful to children while parents were being kept in the dark. Dismayed that the CofE’s own position on some of the issues was absent from the school’s curriculum, during a discussion on LGBT issues in February 2022 she told a class that she did not believe in transgender ideology, that Christians believe sex outside of marriage is sin and that as a Christian you need to “live your life for God”. She added that “there is no place to hurt or exclude anyone because they are LGBT” and all are “loved by God” and are “precious”, according to the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting her.
One pupil’s mother complained that her child had been “upset” by the lesson, which led to Ms. Leger being sacked for “gross misconduct”, being deemed a “safeguarding risk” to the “emotional well-being of children”.
Not satisfied with just the sacking, the Aquinas Church of England Education Trust then reported Ms. Leger to the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) because “she upset one pupil by sharing her views on LBGTQ+ and she went on to share many more in our investigation and subsequent hearings, such that we were not certain whether she would continue to share those views with young people”.
Although the mother of the child said she had never intended for the complaint to “get this far” and that all she had wanted was for Ms. Leger to have “training”, the TRA panel concluded that Ms. Leger was guilty of “unacceptable professional conduct” and labelled the expression of her beliefs as “inappropriate” – though stopped short of banning her from the profession.
The panel said Ms. Leger “presented as genuine and sincere in her personally held views”, was “tolerant of people from all backgrounds” and found Ms. Leger had “no intention of causing distress or harm to pupils”.
However, in its decision it said it “considered that public confidence in the profession could be seriously weakened if conduct such as that found against Ms. Leger were not treated with the utmost seriousness when regulating the conduct of the profession”.
It also found that Ms. Leger’s beliefs, and the expression of them in a Church of England school, were not aligned with “school policy”.
Despite Ms. Leger expressing her beliefs to pupils because they were only being taught the LGBT narrative at the school, the TRA said that her “choice not to present a balanced view undermined the school community’s aspiration to provide a supportive environment for children who may be exploring sexual identity”.
The panel therefore ruled that it was “satisfied that you are guilty of unacceptable professional conduct”, though added that “the Secretary of State for Education has considered the panel’s recommendation and has decided that it is not appropriate to impose a prohibition order”, which would ban Ms. Leger from the profession entirely.
The panel said that “the details of this decision will be added to your teacher record, which employers can use to check information”.
Giving evidence, Ms. Leger said:
I am certain that I have not shown, and never would show, any hatred or lack of love towards LGBT people.
True compassion and love is to be able to speak the truth to people irrespective of their sexuality. I would never discriminate against anyone, but the school was compelling teachers to promote, teach and celebrate these issues, which I could not do.
She added that: “It is not ‘inclusive’ if pupils at a Christian school are barred from understanding what Christian belief is and means on these very serious issues.”
Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said the ruling showed that “classrooms are no longer safe for Christians”.
Regulatory bodies are creating an oppressive environment for teachers which chills the atmosphere and prevents the expression of Christian faith in schools and any alternative or balancing viewpoint to LGBT ideology.
Glawdys is a Christian teacher who was teaching Christian ethics in an RE lesson in a Christian school. For her to be punished for doing her job well creates censorship in the classroom.
Ms. Leger cared deeply about the children in her care and wanted to teach them about the tolerance and hope that is found in the Christian faith. For that she has been punished and even risked loss of her licence to teach.
We are ready to continue to support Glawdys and to appeal any of the findings made against her by the TRA.