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Wednesday, 9 February, 2000, 02:39 GMT
Making school cool for boys

classroom The government wants to boost boys' achievements

Boys need a school culture where it is "cool" to do well, according to a government minister.

School Standards Minister Estelle Morris said strategies used successfully in schools to boost boys' achievements had included "stamping out signs of a macho anti-school culture".

Mentoring for under-achieving pupils and regular one-to-one interviews between pupils and tutors had also helped improve boys' results.


Ms Morris's comments follow recommendations made by a headteachers' focus group, set up by the Department for Education to look at ways to narrow the achievement gap between boys and girls and to raise standards for all pupils.

The group, made up of 11 primary and secondary heads, recommended that schools have

  • a strong senior management team to implement whole school policies
  • an emphasis on creating a welcoming and supportive culture
  • structures in place to help teachers analyse results in detail and set individual targets.

Ms Morris said: "Girls outperform boys in English at all four key stages.

"While standards are improving year on year for both girls and boys, there is no doubt that girls are getting off to a better start in reading and writing - a difference which is sustained in later schooling.

"The head teachers who have been successful in boosting boys' achievement have not advocated diverting resources from boys to girls.

"Schools need to examine underachievement in their own classrooms and devise strategies which will enable all pupils to achieve."

'Girls lose out on jobs'

Ms Morris said that although girls were outperforming boys in key stage assessments, there was no room for complacency.

"Examinations and career choices by both girls and boys still reflect stereotypical patterns and girls often lose out in the employment market."

The DfEE is developing an interactive gender and achievement area for its Standards website.

The section, due to be launched in the summer, will enable teachers to share good practice, and keep up-to-date with latest developments such as new research and teaching materials.

Ms Morris said the department was commissioning research into the educational achievements of different groups of pupils, particularly under-achieving boys, and was setting up meetings with groups of local education authorities to discuss how they could best support schools and share good practice.

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See also:
06 Oct 99 |  Education
Boys close the gap over reading
13 Aug 99 |  Education
Why girls' schools do well
07 Feb 00 |  Education
Anti-gay bullies 'given free rein'

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