A Christian teacher who was banned from the profession for ‘misgendering’ a transgender pupil has shown no remorse, saying he would ‘rather die’ than ‘call her a him’.
Joshua Sutcliffe, a 33-year-old who taught maths at The Cherwell School in Oxford, was found to have failed to treat the pupil ‘with dignity and respect’ by addressing them by a female pronoun when they identified as male.
In what is believed to be the first case of its kind in the UK, the married father of one has been prohibited from teaching indefinitely by the Teaching Regulation Authority (TRA).
Recalling the incident today, he told the Telegraph: ‘The TRA has said, you don’t feel enough remorse for not going on with the pronouns.”
‘Well, I’m sorry, but that’s the Christian position. I wasn’t going to say: ”I’m going along with this’. I’d rather die to be honest. Obviously, that’s quite extreme but that’s how I feel.’
In 2017, Mr Sutcliffe was suspended and subsequently left The Cherwell School after he praised a group of pupils by saying ‘well done girls’ – claiming later this was not deliberate and that he apologised straight away.
He took legal action against the school for constructive dismissal and discrimination.
The Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) concluded it was ‘more probable than not’ that he addressed the transgender pupil with female pronouns in other instances during his time at the school between 2015 and 2018 – which he denies.
Mr. Sutcliffe said he is ‘devastated’ by the ruling and plans to appeal.
He also called for teachers to receive more training about their interactions with trans pupils.
‘Teachers are under enough stress as it is. It’s a high-pressure role, a lot is expected of you and you’re not paid an awful lot. And then they’ve got this to contend with, and a lot of teachers will just capitulate out of fear,’ he said.
‘But a lot of teachers, Christian and non-Christian, will no doubt have convictions that sex is immutable. That’s why the guidance is really needed.’
As well as being struck off for misgendering, the preacher’s son was also found to have expressed his opposition to gay marriage when quizzed by a pupil.
Mr. Sutcliffe was also found to have failed to ‘consider the potential impact’ on his pupils, particularly those who are LGBT, of a statement that being gay was wrong.
From September 2018, he went to work at boy’s school St Aloysius’ College in Islington, north London, where he showed pupils a YouTube video entitled ‘Make Men Masculine Again’, according to complaint submitted to the disciplinary panel.
He admitted to referring to the footage but denied showing it to pupils. However, the complaint was upheld.
Another complaint over comments he made about masculinity, including that there is a ‘growing problem in today’s society that men are not masculine enough’ was also upheld.
The TRA ruling stated: ‘The panel was satisfied that the conduct of Mr. Sutcliffe fell significantly short of the standard of behaviour expected of a teacher.’
After being found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct, a decision to ban him from teaching was made on behalf of Education Secretary Gillian Keegan by the TRA’s decision-maker Alan Meyrick.
‘In my view, it is necessary to impose a prohibition order in order to maintain public confidence in the profession,’ Mr Meyrick said.
The landmark ruling comes amid schools waiting for the first detailed Government guidance on how to respond to transgender pupils.