A HEADTEACHER has backed a Church of England report encouraging schools to help primary school pupils explore their gender identity.

In the guidance issued to its schools on how to combat LGBT bullying, headteachers were told boys and girls should be free to dress up in a princess tiara and heels or a firefighter’s helmet and tool belt without judgement from teachers or pupils.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the guidance would help schools spread the Christian message “without exception or exclusion”.

Andy Richbell, headteacher of St Nicolas CofE Primary School in Portslade, told The Argus he was supportive of children exploring their identity at school. He said: “We have no gender in our uniform policy, our children where what they prefer to wear.

“We also have roleplay areas, and if you look at what children do you will find boys dressed up in dresses and girls as firemen. I would imagine that’s pretty normal.”

The issue of gender identity in young children has sparked national headlines, after Brighton and Hove parents last year were asked what gender their four-year-olds identified as.

Last month parents removed their son from an Isle of Wight CofE school because they said their child was confused over another child dressing as a girl and a boy.

Mr Richbell said it is a school’s job to help children understand things confusing to them. He added: “I have been approached by one parent in the time, and there have been a number of children I assume exploring their gender identity and may not be talking to us or parents.

“but the crucial thing is we have a culture where everybody understands everybody is different and behaves differently. “In my opinion you shouldn’t have a church school in this country that doesn’t value all of its children equally and adapts to their needs.”

The school has gender neutral toilets and was part of Brighton and Hove City Council’s campaign to be named LGBT charity Stonewall’s leading local authority in the country for tackling homophobic and biphobic bullying in schools in 2014.