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It’s Really ‘About Me Being A Christian’: Teacher Banned By UK Secretary Of State For Education For ‘Misgendering’

In an outcome believed to be the first of its kind, a Christian maths teacher has been banned by the Secretary of State for Education for “bringing the profession into disrepute” for not using the preferred pronouns of a female student who identified as a boy.

A Teaching Regulation Authority (TRA) professional conduct panel has, with the backing of Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, ruled that Joshua Sutcliffe was guilty of unprofessional conduct and has banned him from teaching in any capacity for at least two years and potentially indefinitely.

Joshua, who has a two-year-old child and will lose significant earning capacity as a result of the decision, will appeal with the support of the Christian Legal Centre.

Joshua’s six year journey

In 2017, Joshua made headlines after taking legal action against Cherwell School after he was suspended and eventually dismissed for allegedly ‘misgendering’ a female student, referred to as Pupil A, that self-identified as a boy.

During a maths lesson, Joshua said “well done girls” in Pupil A’s presence leading her to become irate. In an attempt to diffuse the situation, Joshua apologised.

Despite an exemplary record, in which Joshua’s key-stage 3 pupils outperformed their parallel classes, and having received no guidance or formal instruction on how he was to refer to Pupil A, the school launched an investigation into Joshua’s behaviour. During this time, he was prevented from teaching and forced to spend all his time in isolation in the staff room. He was subsequently suspended and dismissed.

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The legal case against the Oxford-based school was settled out of court.

Following his ordeal at Cherwell School, Joshua started working at St Aloysius RC College in North London. However, after more than a year in the role, he felt forced to resign over views he posted on his personal YouTube channel.

In addition to a passion for teaching, Joshua has a passion to share the good news of Jesus Christ. He expresses this through street preaching and through uploading his reflections on Bible passages and Christian apologetic videos on YouTube.

Joshua was suspended for one week, in November 2019, after one parent objected to one video where Joshua states that “Muhammad is a false prophet” and for suggesting that “Muslims have a false understanding of God because they’ve been led by a false prophet”.

Speaking to Premier Christianity’s Sam Hailes about why he resigned, Joshua said“because it had happened before, I was quite quick to say: ‘OK, I’ll find something else to do.’ I didn’t really have it in me [to fight the decision]. Maybe I should have.”.

Despite issues between Joshua and both schools being settled, the TRA has continued to pursue an investigation against him with a 7-day hearing taking place earlier this year.

As well as accusations of ‘misgendering’ and “unprofessional conduct”, over his criticism of Islam, the TRA professional conduct panel also investigated comments Joshua had made on same-sex ‘marriage’ in response to a pupils questions at a Christian Union meeting and allegations he had shown a video on masculinity without providing an alternative view […]

‘Banned from the profession I love’

Responding to the outcome, Joshua said: “I am devastated by the panel’s ruling and will appeal.

“Based on this ruling, every teacher is at risk if they share their beliefs and views in the classroom. If a teacher had shown or recommended a video from a liberal YouTube platform, would they have been treated as I have?

“I believe affirming children in gender confusion in the classroom is psychologically damaging for them. I refuse to go against my conscience and cause a child harm and refuse to apologise for that. I am backed by the Policy Exchange report, and even the government, yet they have signed off my ban.

“The TRA wanted me to capitulate and say that I was wrong. I have been mercilessly punished for refusing to do so.

“Indoctrinating children across the country to bow before the Pride flag is celebrated, but if Christian beliefs are raised or expressed in the classroom, you can face having your career and life torn apart.

“I have been bullied and pursued and have had every part of my life scrutinised for expressing my beliefs and biological truth.

“This decision is putting me and my family at risk. I have a young son and everything that is happening is affecting him.

“Mathematics has always been a great joy of mine; my teaching record is exemplary, and I was always respectful to everyone. From the beginning, however, this case has not been about my ability to teach but about me being a Christian and believing in the gospel and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.”

‘Marked man’

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which has supported Joshua’s throughout his ordeal, said: “This ruling sends a clear message that Christian teachers can no longer express their beliefs in the teaching profession. If you are, you will be hounded out and barred from being in the classroom.

“For refusing to use preferred pronouns and expressing his Christian belief on marriage in response to questions from pupils, he became a marked man. From that moment, everything he did in the classroom and outside of it came under intense scrutiny.

“From the beginning, Joshua has faced viewpoint discrimination from the schools, the TRA and now the Secretary of State for Education.

“The TRA has targeted an exceptional teacher because his Christian beliefs do not fall in line with the prevailing secular orthodoxy which will not tolerate any dissent.

“The backing of the panel’s recommendations from the Secretary of State is baffling considering the urgent concern coming from the government about the extent of transgender ideology and harmful gender identity teaching in UK schools.

“For loving Jesus, speaking truth in his personal time, and responding to questions from students on the Christian faith, he has been hounded out of the teaching profession.

“Joshua will appeal, and we will stand with him for as long as it takes to get justice.”

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