Christian maths teacher accused of ‘misgendering’ trans pupil denies misconduct

Christian maths teacher accused of ‘misgendering’ trans pupil and calling Muhammad a ‘false prophet’ denies misconduct

  • Teacher Joshua Sutcliffe was accused of ‘misgendering’ a transgender pupil
  • He is an evangelical Christian and faces allegations of misconduct by regulators
  • It is said he made ‘inappropriate’ comments about gay marriage and masculinity 
  • Sutcliffe was accused of calling Muhammad a ‘false prophet’ at a Catholic school

A Christian maths teacher accused of ‘misgendering’ a transgender pupil, calling Muhammad a ‘false prophet’ and saying men in today’s society ‘are not masculine enough’ has denied misconduct.

Joshua Sutcliffe is accused of referring to a transgender student as ‘she’ while working at a secondary school in Oxford, as well as making ‘inappropriate’ comments about gay marriage and masculinity at another school in London.

The teacher, who is an evangelical Christian, is facing allegations of misconduct by the Teacher Regulation Agency (TRA).

At a misconduct hearing in Oxford this week Andrew Cullen, representing the TRA, said Mr Sutcliffe had a ‘strong belief and unshakeable conviction’ that gender cannot be changed from the one assigned at birth.

Teacher and evangelical Christian Joshua Sutcliffe (pictured) is accused of referring to a transgender student as 'she' while working at a secondary school in Oxford

Teacher and evangelical Christian Joshua Sutcliffe (pictured) is accused of referring to a transgender student as ‘she’ while working at a secondary school in Oxford

In 2017 Mr Sutcliffe was suspended by Cherwell School (pictured) after he said 'well done girls' to a group of pupils, including one who identified as a boy

In 2017 Mr Sutcliffe was suspended by Cherwell School (pictured) after he said ‘well done girls’ to a group of pupils, including one who identified as a boy

Mr Sutcliffe is accused of misgendering the student, known only as Pupil A, at The Cherwell School in Oxford in 2017. Mr Sutcliffe admits he used the wrong pronoun but denies it was due to his beliefs and says he apologised for the mistake.

The tribunal heard that after Mr Sutcliffe was suspended and later left the school, he appeared on ITV’s This Morning to speak about the incident.

Mr Cullen said Mr Sutcliffe misgendered the pupil again during the segment, and also misgendered the student in an email to the school in December 2018 – which the TRA say also amounts to misconduct.

Mr Sutcliffe is also accused of expressing his views on gay marriage and homosexuality during maths lessons – including making a comment that his roommate had ‘stopped being gay through God’ – which he denies.

From September 2018, the maths teacher went to work at a boys St Aloysius’ College in Islington, north London, where he is accused of showing students videos that were ‘inappropriate and had the potential to cause pupils distress’.

He allegedly played his own video to pupils at the boys-only Roman Catholic school in which he said Muslims have a ‘false understanding of God’ and that Muhammad was a ‘false prophet’.

Mr Sutcliffe is also accused of expressing his views on gay marriage and homosexuality during maths lessons - including making a comment that his roommate had 'stopped being gay through God' - which he denies

Mr Sutcliffe is also accused of expressing his views on gay marriage and homosexuality during maths lessons – including making a comment that his roommate had ‘stopped being gay through God’ – which he denies

He is also accused of making comments about masculinity, including that there is a ‘growing problem in today’s society that men are not masculine enough’ and that women ‘want real men’ and are ‘not attracted to passive men’.

Mr Sutcliffe also allegedly said children who grow up without a father are more depressed than their peers and are at ‘far greater risk of incarceration, teen pregnancy and poverty’.

Mr Sutcliffe accepts the videos are on his Youtube account but denies showing them to students or making the comments in class, the tribunal heard.

Mr Cullen said: ‘All these issues are at the tip of public debate at the moment and issues that are hotly contested.

‘It is not that a teacher can’t hold personal beliefs or that one may not express their beliefs in an open way or in a public way – but context is vitally important.’

Michael Phillips, representing Mr Sutcliffe, said the teacher’s views on gender are ‘controversial but upheld and protected in law’.

Mr Phillips claimed there was no policy, risk assessment, or report from a social worker or psychologist to require teachers to use Pupil A’s preferred pronoun, and Mr Sutcliffe would usually avoid using pronouns by referring to Pupil A by their name.

On his YouTube channel, Mr Sutcliffe posted a video called: 'What does the Bible say about false prophets?'

On his YouTube channel, Mr Sutcliffe posted a video called: ‘What does the Bible say about false prophets?’

Mr Phillips added: ‘There’s nothing to suggest he must [use male pronouns] except for a brief conversation with a colleague that “if you don’t do this, Pupil A will get mad”.’

He said Mr Sutcliffe did not believe he had to use Pupil A’s preferred pronouns on This Morning or in an email to the school in 2018 as the student was ‘not privy to those conversations’.

In response to allegations he showed pupils in Islington his Youtube videos, Mr Phillips said: ‘He does have a YouTube channel and he would endorse the comment of the video but he didn’t show it.

‘It may be that pupils looked him up… found out who he was, saw what he was about.’

Mr Phillips said even if Mr Sutcliffe had shown the videos, the point of view expressed was something ‘wholly in keeping with the Christian faith’ and ‘upheld’ by the Catholic school.

The tribunal continues.

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