The Department for Education must make the teaching of equality and diversity a compulsory part of the personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) syllabus, says Suran Dickson, chief executive of education charity Diversity Role Models.

Dickson was commenting in response to publication today by the Government Equalities Office of a Transgender Equality Action Plan, which calls on the Department for Education to consider this addition to the syllabus.

"As it stands, many schools aren't aware of what transphobia is. It needs to be clearly explained and incorporated into anti-bullying policies," she says. "I've had three schools get in touch because they have concerns about students who appear to be gender dysphoric. Those schools have absolutely no idea what to do.

"Schools need guidance on how to best respond to the needs of students who don't fit into the gender binary, particularly with respect to physical education, uniforms and bathrooms. They also need guidance on how to support a student who transitions while in the education system."

"Secondary schools should have access to transgender role models to increase the self worth of students who may be questioning their gender identity. This will also enable their peers to better understand and support them."

"For students and staff to gain understanding of transgender issues, they need to work with transgender people in the form of support groups such as Gendered Intelligence, GIRES and Diversity Role Models. This will increase empathy and reduce bullying."