Teacher's gender change
A male member of staff at a top Methodist school is to start dressing as a woman after the half term break.The unidentified member of the ancillary staff will carry on working as normal helping teachers prepare lessons at Culford School which has boarding fees of £15,000-a-yearIt is believed he will live as a woman for a period of time before deciding whether to undergo full sex change surgery.
A male member of staff at a top Methodist school is to start dressing as a woman after the half term break.
The unidentified member of the ancillary staff will carry on working as normal helping teachers prepare lessons at Culford School which has boarding fees of £15,000-a-year
It is believed he will live as a woman for a period of time before deciding whether to undergo full sex change surgery.
He will also be changing his name and will be referred to as Miss or Ms after children return next Monday to the school near Bury St Edmunds.
Headmaster John Richardson has written to all parents of his 700 pupils to tell them of the employee's decision to undergo "gender reassignment".
He believes that the school's support for the technician reflects its commitment to Christian values of tolerance and understanding.
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But his letter has shocked some parents.
One said: "It came as a bolt out of the blue. We never had any idea this was going to happen."
The co-educational school for children aged two to 18 is a Methodist Independent School - one of 14 in Britain supported by the Methodist Church.
The Culford School website says it places emphasis on "worshipping in the Methodist tradition and upholding Christian values" while having a "spirit of openness and tolerance" to other faiths.
It adds: "Culford upholds the tradition of the critical and fair assessment of society's standard and values."
Mr Richardson insisted yesterday that there was no "threat" to pupils at the school which dates back to 1881 and stands in 480 acres of parkland designed by Humphrey Repton in the 18th century.
He said in a statement: "A member of the school's ancillary staff has a medical condition known as gender identity disorder.
"It is a condition he has had to deal with for a long period of time and about which he has sought medical advice.
"After careful consultation and with the understanding of the school, he has decided to undergo gender re-assignment.
"As a Christian community, the school is concerned to support the member of
staff in dealing with what is to him an important and pressing personal
"Gender re-assignment does not imply any sort of threat to other people, be
they adults or children.
"Furthermore, the member of staff concerned has no responsibility for classes or individual pupils. All parents of pupils in the school have been fully informed of the situation."
Mr Richardson added: "The purpose of writing to the parents was so they could discuss the situation with their children as they saw fit.
"I believed it was something best done informally in the family home, rather than being announced at school.
"The pupils have no contact with the member of staff who simply works in the background."
Graham Russell, secretary of the board of management of Methodist Independent Schools, said: "The headmaster's statement was admirable.
"It's gone to the governors, the parents and is available to the press. I do not think there is anything useful that can be added at this stage."