Gender affirmation student support plans

Schools must work with students affirming their gender identity to prepare and implement a student support plan.

The plan should be developed in consultation with the student and their parents or carers, where possible, and should be reviewed periodically to ensure that it reflects the needs of the student at the different stages of their transition, and at the different stages of their education.

It is important that the student is at the centre of creating their own support plan, and consulted in all decision making. In preparing the plan, the school should consider the following:

  • catering to the students’ affirmed gender identity
  • that the support plan reflects this policy
  • adopting a common sense approach
  • developing the support plan over staggered sessions to allow time for trialling and opportunities for adjustments to occur
  • the best timing to undertake a gender affirmation process, such as term break
  • maintaining appropriate privacy and confidentiality – consider the privacy of the student, and only share information to those who have an appropriate reason to know. In consultation with the student and family, determine whether key staff members, such as a student welfare coordinator or the physical education teacher, need to be advised in order to effectively support or teach the student. Make a list of the names of staff members who know of the gender identity change.
  • the referencing of and recording of student’s affirmed name, gender identity, and pronouns (he, she, they and so on)
  • the use of toilets, showers and change rooms that meet the needs of the student. This should be based on the student’s gender identity and whichever facilities they will feel most comfortable using. Students without a disability should not be required to use disabled toilets or facilities
  • the appropriate uniform that reflects the gender identity of the student and meets the school’s dress or uniform code
  • developing a communications plan that includes what information staff members and other students need to know to best support the student
  • make plans to address potential community concerns, ensuring students’ right to privacy is maintained
  • providing support to staff through professional learning and briefings on the arrangements for the student where appropriate
  • updating school policies to include support for transgender and gender diverse students and responses to transphobic bullying
  • consider scheduling regular student support groups to support, guide and monitor the student’s progress
  • Note: a letter from a gender identity specialist may be requested by the school to support them in developing the plan. This letter is not a conditional requirement for the school in providing support to the student, but it may help to ensure that schools can adequately discharge their duty of care to a student by planning appropriately. Gender identity specialists are available through Royal Children’s Hospital and Monash Medical Centre.

There may be circumstances in which students wish or need to undertake gender transition without the consent of their parent/s (or carer/s), and/or without consulting medical practitioners.

If no agreement can be reached between the student and the parent/s regarding the student’s gender identity, or if the parent/s will not consent to the contents of a student support plan, it will be necessary for the school to consider whether the student is a mature minor.

If a student is considered a mature minor they can make decisions for themselves without parental consent and should be affirmed in their gender identity at school without a family representative/carer participating in formulating the school management plan.

Department policy addresses situations in which students, though under the age of 18 years, may be sufficiently mature to make their own decisions, (refer to Mature Minors and Decision Making).

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