19/12/2012 12:16 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

School Newsletter Announces Male Teacher Will Start New Year As A Woman

School newsletter announces male teacher will start new year as a woman Cavendish

A primary school has divided opinion after sending out a newsletter to families announcing a male teacher's decision to live as a woman.

St Mary Magdalen's School in Accrington, Lancashire, announced that teacher Nathan Upton would be returning to school in January as Miss Meadows in the end of year newsletter to parents.

The announcement read:

"Mr Upton has recently made a significant change in his life and will be transitioning to live as a woman. After the Christmas break, she will return to work as Miss Meadows."

Headteacher at the Church of England school, Karen Hardman, said Mr Upton had the school's full support, saying:

"This is a personal matter for our staff member, who has our full support, and we are all working together to ensure it has the least impact on the smooth running of our school."

In a statement, Mr Upton thanked school governors and colleagues for their support.

"This has been a long and difficult journey for me, and it was certainly not an easy decision to make," he said.

"I am grateful to governors and colleagues at St Mary Magdalen's for their support. I'd now ask for my privacy to be respected so that I can continue with my job, which I'm committed to and which I enjoy very much."

The announcement has divided opinion amongst parents.

Wayne Cowie, who has three sons at the school, aged six, eight and 10, said: "All of a sudden he is going to be coming to school after Christmas as a woman. They are too young to be dealing with that."

Another parent, who did not want to be named added:

"I'm deeply concerned because I feel that having to deal with transgender issues at the age of six or seven is not age appropriate. It's not something I would talk to my children about at this age."

However another mum said she didn't see a problem, telling reporters: "My children are happy. I don't see anything wrong with it. He's not the first and he won't be the last. All I care about is my child's education."

A grandmother collecting her seven-year-old granddaughter also supported Mr Upton, saying: "It has been handled very sensitively by the school and I think it's a very brave thing for him to do."

The Blackburn Diocese commented on the announcement, saying: "Since then we have been in close and constant discussion with the school governors, headteacher and local education authority to advise on how the matter should be handled, particularly from the point of view of the pupils, as well as parents and teachers."

County Councillor Susie Charles, added: "This is an entirely personal matter for the member of staff concerned. I am reassured that every care has been taken to ensure that the staff member and everyone at the school are fully supported."

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