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A Contemporary Educational Issue. The Gender Gap in Education. Statistics….. Guardian.co.uk - http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/oct/10/britains-divided-school-system-report?intcmp=239. Boys are slipping behind girls in 11 out of 13 learning categories by the age of five.

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Statistics…..Guardian.co.uk - http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/oct/10/britains-divided-school-system-report?intcmp=239

Boys are slipping behind girls in 11 out of 13 learning categories by the age of five.

Children from the poorest families are half as likely to achieve good GCSEs.

Black pupils of Caribbean descent are three times more likely to be excluded.

Four out of five young people with special needs are being bullied; between a quarter and a third of Muslim women have no qualifications.


“When a boy is six to seven they are still very active and have a short attention span."


Boys in their early years slipping behind in problem solving and reasoning and then in social and emotional development. By the age of five, 53% had reached the expected level in writing compared with 72% of girls.

Next they underachieve at GCSE, failing to go in such large numbers to university; when they do, they are less likely to gain a 2:1 or a first.

It is not just an academic problem – the report finds that boys are also three and a half times more likely to be permanently excluded from school. "A lot of boys feel they do not fit into the way education is now,"


New Labour tried to tackle the under-achievement of boys.

Stephen Byers, the schools standards minister, said we "should not simply accept with a shrug of the shoulder that boys will boys".

So councils were ordered to draw up plans that addressed the issue. Later, there was an intensive project in more than 50 schools. Some blamed the lack of male primary teachers so there was a drive to recruit more.

changing role of gender in education
Changing Role of Gender in Education

Pre 1800s -school education was largely the arena of men

1800s – opening of women’s colleges such as Queens College London, Girton College and Newnham College

1944 Education Act -opened secondary school to girls. Educated and mobilised women.

changing role of gender in education1
Changing Role of Gender in Education

The war era in general saw great changes in the roles of women – employment and education opportunities.

Late 1950s - manpower shortages - girls needed to be encouraged to stay on at school and to take extra qualifications.

The gender gap in education began to attract the attention of the British government and media in the mid-1990s

theories why
Theories why….

Girls are more mature socially and verbally than boys when they start school.

- Frustration

- Dislike

Too many female teacher in primary school?

Lack of physical activity.

Lack of creative learning activity.

Teacher’s belief.

possible solutions
Possible Solutions…

GCSE coursework.

- 2007 Mathematics scrapped

- 2009 Boys over took girls for first time in 12 years

‘Raising Boy’s Achievement’

- Reading-explore the ‘complex relationship between product and process’

- Writing-oral work, visual stimuli and drama.

strategies that have worked
Strategies that have worked

Case study: George Abbott School, Guilford, Surrey:

·     A mentoring strategy was designed to improve the academic achievement of boys and to closely address the needs of the pupils concerned.

·     Twenty Year 10 boys and fifteen teachers took part in the project.

what were the main objectives of the scheme
What were the main objectives of the scheme?

·     Understand what motivated the boys

·     Investigate what factors the boys perceived as key to achieving success.

·     Encourage responsibility for learning.

·     To make the boys aware of their own strengths and weaknesses.

·     For mentors to focus on work rather than behaviour to create a positive rapport with the boys.

what were the outcomes of the scheme 1
What were the outcomes of the scheme? (1)

·     Three quarters of the boys felt the scheme had improved their academic achievement, staff identified that they had seen improvement in 62% of the pupils.

·     62% of the boys identified motivational factors as having an impact upon academic achievement and 75% of the pupils blamed external factors such as poor teaching and exams as the cause of their failure in parts of academic life.

what were the outcomes of the scheme 2
What were the outcomes of the scheme? (2)

·     30% of the boys said the scheme had given them the self esteem they needed.

·     Good relationships were developed between the staff and pupils.

The limitations: pupils responded better when their goals were short term, the scheme did not offer evidence in improving boys’ achievement in any long term plan.

what did the study recommend as further strategies to improve the performance of boys
What did the study recommend as further strategies to improve the performance of boys?

1)     Gender based seating plans

2)     One to one discussions about work

3)     Exploration of preferred learning styles.


"We need to change the way we teach, we need to make it more attractive, more fun, take the pressure away so we are not just worrying about the amount of information we can stuff into children's brains."