Updating personal information for transgender learners — guidance for centres

SQA aims to ensure everyone can update their personal information quickly and easily. A trans person who is transitioning or has undergone a transition may be anxious to protect their privacy surrounding their ‘true’ gender. Their right to confidentially should be respected and maintained at all times.

The information presented on SQA’s Updating personal information – guidance for trans learners explains to learners that they will need to change their name and gender with their centre. We have also provided examples of documentation that you, the centre, may request from a learner, or their parent/carer, if they are under 16 years of age. We also confirm that the learner’s Scottish Candidate Number will remain the same when their name and gender are changed.

When a trans person transitions to living permanently in their preferred gender role, they are able to change their name and gender on almost all of their public and private records. This includes their driving licence, their passport, their medical, employment and education records.

Gender Recognition Act

The Gender Recognition Act allows trans people to change their legal gender. A person’s legal sex, as recorded on their birth certificate, can only be changed if they apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate to change it legally. A trans person over the age of 18 can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate.

Read more about the Gender Recognition Act

Who may apply to record a change of name?

In Scotland, if a person wishes to be known by a different name they are entitled to change their name at any time. They must be over the age of 16 to change their name, before then they need their parent’s or carer’s permission. They can change their forename and/or surname, add names or rearrange their existing names. There is no set legal procedure that they must follow in order to change a name. They can simply start using their new name.

Any person whose birth is registered in Scotland or who was legally adopted in Scotland may apply for a recorded change of name. If the person is under 16 years of age, the application must be made by a qualified applicant who is defined as follows:

  • where only one parent has parental responsibilities in relation to the child, that parent
  • where both parents have such responsibilities in relation to the child, both parents; and
  • where neither parent has such responsibilities, any other person who has such responsibilities

If the person is over 16 years of age, they must apply on their own behalf.

Further information

  1. National Records of Scotland website
  2. Understanding transgender and gender identity
  3. An introduction to supporting lgbt young people - A guide for schools, colleges and settings