In a recent interview with Times Radio, Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) Nick Fletcher expressed his belief that pronouns are a “problem” and should be completely eradicated from schools as a measure to protect children. The discussion arose in the context of the case of Joshua Sutcliffe, a math teacher who faced a ban from the classroom by the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) for several misconduct allegations, including misgendering a transgender student.
Fletcher voiced his opinion that Education Secretary Gillian Keegan should intervene in the matter, further stating, “I think we should take pronouns out of all schools. Teaching unfact-based ideologies to children at school is not what we should be doing, and pronouns are part of that problem.”
During the interview, Times Radio host Aasmah Mir questioned whether it would be possible to allow pronouns while not penalizing individuals for misgendering. Fletcher, however, asserted that such an approach would require people to “lie” and cause confusion, emphasizing, “I don’t think we should keep the pronouns in there. We shouldn’t be doing that, it’s not right.”
Fletcher further advocated that school pupils should only be referred to according to the sex stated on their birth certificates, emphasizing the importance of observing sex assigned at birth. He added, “When people get to 18, if they want to make that decision [to use gender-affirming pronouns], that’s entirely up to them.”
As an MP since 2019, Fletcher contends that his views are rooted in a desire to safeguard children, maintain single-sex spaces, and protect the integrity of sports, aligning with the beliefs of anti-trans and gender-critical activists.
The case against Christian teacher Joshua Sutcliffe has been under review by the TRA since January. He faced allegations of misgendering a transgender student, which he admitted, citing religious beliefs that conflicted with using the child’s preferred pronouns. Additionally, Sutcliffe was accused of expressing disapproval of same-sex marriage.
Following a thorough investigation, the TRA upheld all complaints against Sutcliffe, ruling it was “more probable than not” that he had publicly misgendered the student, failed to treat them with “dignity and respect,” and neglected their well-being. Consequently, he received a ban from teaching, pending the decision made by the TRA’s chief executive, Alan Meyrick, on behalf of the education secretary.
Sutcliffe has expressed his intention to appeal the outcome of the case, underscoring the ongoing debate surrounding the balance between religious beliefs, transgender rights, and the responsibility of educators in creating inclusive learning environments.