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What's best in this field trip situation?

(174 Posts)
Shadowboy Thu 02-Mar-17 22:56:08

I'm currently on maternity leave but return in a month. Last June we gave out letters regarding a field trip for 1 week to a European destination (I do t want to reveal where as I don't want to out the school) 60% of our cohort is attending in the year group. Before I left for maternity I booked hotel/centres for the two locations we will be in. The rooms are split girls on top floor in rooms of either two or four (hotel all in pairs) and boys in 1st floor. 2 members of staff on the top floor and 3 on the 1st floor.
Last Friday I received an email from a parent of a student who was when I last saw him a male. His (or her I really need to know the correct etiquette for this!) mother has asked for her to be roomed on the same floor as the girls as she is now fully engaged in being considered of the female gender. I have contacted the hotel and they have no rooms left. The centre has a spare but it's the other end of the centre in an annex.

I did find another hotel but it's more expensive (fancy place!) and would mean £57 more per student for the trip.

We have a contingency fund but not at a rate of £57 AND enough to cover any other issues. Do I ask two members of staff to share a room (issue is I have booked double beds so they would actually have to share a bed! But this would free up a room on the correct floor)

We have also never let students sleep in rooms alone (a safety issue when abroad but I'm not comfortable asking girls to share with a student who they 8 months ago believed was male)

I'm not even actually back in work officially yet but the trip is in 6 weeks so I need to sort it ASAP. My line manager has no idea what to do as we've never come across this at short notice. What would you do?!!

gleegeek Thu 02-Mar-17 23:05:37

Tricky! I notice situations like this have been discussed over on the Feminism board. Maybe some one there could advise you of both the legal situation and how to proceed in everyone's best interests???
The mum has left it a bit late to make her request hasn't she?!

Joinourclub Thu 02-Mar-17 23:16:24

Don't go over to the feminism board!! They will just say he isn't a girl, can't be a girl, will never be a girl. And that isn't going to help you ( or HER). Asking staff to share seems to be the only option. Can the hotel put an extra bed in? I've stated in hotels before where they have put in an extra single ( fold up) bed to make a family room.

Snowkitty Thu 02-Mar-17 23:18:46

I'm not a teacher, and I have no idea where you stand legally, however my initial thoughts would be to speak to the child's mother and be open and honest, explaining exactly as you have here that you've contacted the accommodation to get an additional room on the girls' floor, but it's unfortunately fully booked,

Another option might be to ask the child if they have any specific friends (girls) going who they would choose to share a room with, and ask the girls and their parents if they are ok with it?

Or see if the hotel can free up a twin room by putting an extra bed in two of the other rooms?

Hope you can get it sorted soon and to everyone's satisfaction. And hope you all have a good trip too.

TheSnowFairy Fri 03-Mar-17 07:14:15

I'm an EVC at my school.

If staff shared a room, would this mean the girl has a room to herself? If so, then yes.

PS you now refer to her in the feminine at all times and she can be called by a girl's name. However, if she has not legally name changed then her official name (eg exam certs) stays as the male name.

Sugarlumps333 Fri 03-Mar-17 07:21:26

For your own sanity do not go to the feminism board with a trans question! You will be met with hundreds of answers inc academic references and stats about how the pupil in question is encroaching on women's rights and will mean the end of everything for women everywhere and then that will be followed by a lot of pro trans people quoting germaine greer and suicide stats. It will not help answer this. I say for a quiet life / avoiding rearranging exisiting hotel plans / budget do whatever you can to get her into a room of her own even if teachers have to share but definitely speak to the mum because she may insist on dd being integrated with the girls meaning sleeping arrangements as one of the girls.

ChuckDaffodils Fri 03-Mar-17 07:23:16

You are on maternity leave. Let your manager sort it out.

PotteringAlong Fri 03-Mar-17 07:25:45

Honedtly? I'd email SLT with the options and ask someone more senior than you to make a decision. You cannot keep everyone happy in this scenario so at least then you can refer the complainers to the person who decided.

noenergy Fri 03-Mar-17 07:30:39

Such a complicated situation. I would explain the situation to the parent. Explain no other room available. Why should teachers have to share. And I wouldn't want him/her sharing with my daughter. Or as someone suggested the pupil share with a teacher, as a teacher I would def not b comfortable with that.

I would pass it on to senior management far too complex.

Northernlurker Fri 03-Mar-17 07:31:34

This student cannot share with a girl. She may consider herself female but she isn't and that would be an infringement of the girl's privacy. You need to get her in a room alone and the parents need to accept that their request has resulted in a scenario which you feel is slightly more risk laden because they are in a room alone.

PigletWasPoohsFriend Fri 03-Mar-17 07:33:44

I would pass it on to senior management far too complex

I would too.

I also agree don't put this on the feminist boards. It will get completely derailed and not help at all.

SookiesSocks Fri 03-Mar-17 07:42:40

I dont think bad mouthing the feminisim board is fair. hmm

I would not force a girl to share with this child and it would breech their (the girls) right to privacy and dignity from the opposite sex which this child is.

I agree you are on mat leave and its not your problem to sort.
I would suggest your manager have a meeting with the parents and see what solution can be found.

It must be difficult for the child but at the same time I think its unfair to make girls uncomfortable and force a situation on them which they have no control over.

Hellothereitsme Fri 03-Mar-17 07:42:46

I would stop my daughter going on a trip if she had to share a room with a child who hasn't started any hormone treatment yet to become a girl. My priority is my child not the feelings of others.

Annahibiscuits Fri 03-Mar-17 08:06:08

I brought this exact situation to the attention of the Head Teacher of my school. I was worried about safeguading the girls, as sex segregation is universally expected for that reason. It isn't an issue for the trip I was asking about. He said if a trans student was on a trip , then they would conduct A RISK ASSESSMENT. to inform what to do. You should do that. Not just stick your finger in the air and hope for the best

If I was a mother of a girl on a trip and this male was accommodated in with the girls, I would sue you

I will find the email, see what else our HT said, see if it is useful

Annahibiscuits Fri 03-Mar-17 08:11:16

You would be in breach of the Equalities Act 2010 if you let this boy share accommodation, it protects the maintenance of single sex spaces

But trans advocates will say it protects the trans students right to be housed with the girls. That is incorrect interpretation. The protected characteristic is 'Gender reassigned', NOT 'Gender identity'. It is not ethical to describe a child as 'Gender reassigned'. The Act protects against victimisation and harrassment...sex segregated sleeping arrangements is not that

Hellothereitsme Fri 03-Mar-17 08:12:50

As an adult teacher I wouldn't want to share a double bed with another adult. It isn't professional and I would refuse.

Kr1stina Fri 03-Mar-17 08:19:49

I think it's unreasonable for teacher to have to share a room, they are already giving up their time and away from their families .

And I suspect you are on a highway to nothing sharing your probelms with the parent. They won't care.

They have requested different accommodation for their child and you can't provide what they want, which I assume is a single ensuite room on the girls floor.

So you've come up with the next best thing. It's more expensive so the parent will have to pay more. You can't Magic hotel rooms out of thin air.

bloodyteenagers Fri 03-Mar-17 08:22:23

I wouldn't want to share a bed with a colleague. Sorry. Not a chance.

Sugarlumps333 Fri 03-Mar-17 08:24:23

I actually didn't realise how common any of this was becoming - thanks MN. My cousin is a teacher but not in the UK, sounds like there will be a lot more of these type of situations.

Shadowboy Fri 03-Mar-17 09:10:44

I know I'm on Mat leave but it's my trip so I'm responsible. I'm on my way to work to speak to the lady who deals with health& safety and insurance and helps check risk assessments. I will re- contact the hotel to see about another bed etc.

I just wish I'd had more notice!

Motheroffourdragons Fri 03-Mar-17 09:15:49

I think that is an impossible situation to find yourself in.

I would think you need to pass it on to the SLT to figure out the best solution.

lljkk Fri 03-Mar-17 09:23:43

"We have also never let students sleep in rooms alone "

It sounds like you have flexibility in this. Depending whether hotel policy allows a kid of that age to be on their own -- this is the one I think to go for.
With such a large cohort (60% of the yr group?) there is a decent chance that one of the girls will drop out anyway, and one of the rooms with 2 girls in it will become single girl, so you could shift girls around to create a single occupancy room for the he->she kid on the girl floor.

Kr1stina Fri 03-Mar-17 09:31:52

I don't see that you have any choice about having this student sleep alone.

They can't share with a girl because they are not a girl, they are a boy who identifies as a girl. They are not gender reassigned.

And I assume they don't want to share with boys as mother has requested they be moved.

So the only option would be to share with another boy who identifies as a girl. And im guessing you don't have one .

9GreenBottles Fri 03-Mar-17 09:36:18

If you can't find another solution, is there another hotel close by where one of the teachers could sleep (and be contacted to attend in an emergency situation)?

I wouldn't sleep in the same bed as a colleague (and would be very unhappy about being expected to share a twin room too).

GwenStaceyRocks Fri 03-Mar-17 10:46:47

Could you get two rooms in the centre? Then a teacher and a pupil (or a teacher and two pupils) could be moved to the centre freeing up rooms in the main hotel so the trans child can have their own room either in the hotel or the centre.
Either way I agree with a PP that you need a fully documented risk assessment before making any arrangements.

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