A trans primary school teacher has been hailed as a well-regarded professional after parents raised complaints about why they explained their gender identity to pupils.

Bitterne Church of England Primary School has said it is "a tolerant and respectful school’ following a lesson where pupils asked ‘questions that were not expected' when the supply teacher led a class and explained their gender identity.

According to one seven-year-old pupil's parent, the teacher said: "If you're wondering why I'm so gorgeous, it's because I've put makeup on and had a shave."

The lesson prompted parents to complain to the school, with one parent saying children came home ‘confused.’

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Headteacher Jen Johnson sent a letter to parents and carers. It said: “I want to make it very clear that whilst we were not aware that the supply teacher would be sharing this information related to their gender identity ahead of teaching the lessons, we are a tolerant and respectful school.

“Moving forward, and having spoken to the supply agency, we have reaffirmed the school’s expectations for what we expect supply teachers to deliver.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Southampton City Council said: “Our schools, including Bitterne C of E Primary School, use supply teacher agencies who apply rigorous checks to deliver high quality teaching staff and safeguard students.

“The supply teacher in question is well regarded and the quality of the teaching was of a high standard.

“In classroom, the supply teacher introduced themselves and then responded to a small number of questions about their gender quickly and without detail, before moving on swiftly to deliver the lesson in a professional manner.”

They added: “Bitterne C of E Primary School, like many schools in Southampton, has a policy of inclusion and the school has written to parents and the letter has been positively received, with many parents offering supportive feedback."

Rachel Bennet, whose seven-year-old daughter was in the class, has complained to the school.

She told the Echo: “I think it’s a bit much for Year 2 children and can be very confusing for them.

“It seems to have caught everyone off guard, particularly when my daughter was in an English lesson and the teacher is talking about their gender and wearing woman’s clothing.

“You could understand more if it was a PSHE (personal, social, health, education) lesson but then the parents should have been notified beforehand.”

She added: “We have strong religious values, and you have to question whether it’s something the children need to be exposed to at this age."