UK toolkit helps educators address the ‘boy problem’ in schools
The UK Men and Boys Coalition has developed an extensive online resource to help educators working with boys and young men, for academic, personal and emotional needs.
The Boys’ and Young Men’s Education Toolkit has been put together using material drawn from leading practitioners, authors and advocates and, “represents a range of views and approaches to addressing the “boy problem” in schools,” says the Coalition.
In fact, some of the views are contradictory and the range of approaches to certain issues are intentionally diverse.
Topics covered at launch on November 27 are:
- Academic teaching resources
- PSHE and pastoral teaching resources (Personal, Social and Health and Education)
- Consultants, practitioners, speakers – academic
- Consultants, practitioners, speakers – mentoring and personal development
- Bibliography of key literature
The toolkit will be continually updated. For example, included under Academic reaching resources is a wealth of information from the National Literacy Trust in relation to boys’ reading habits and latest developments in improving boys’ reading and writing.
There is a downloadable deck with practical advice and strategies for raising boys’ classroom engagement such as making classrooms cooler, sitting boys side by side, having students start working with brief directions and engaging boys' energy rather than trying to control it (toss a ball to answer a question).
The Coalition reports that colour blindness affects 1 in 12 boys, compared to 1 in 100 girls, and has included a link to the charity Colour Blind Awareness teaching and awareness-raising resources on their website.
There is information for young people experiencing issues around sexuality, gender, equality, diversity or identity from Metro Charity and lesson plans on the subject of body image based on the Naked Beach TV series.
The Men and Boys Coalition is the UK’s umbrella charity for more than 80 charities, academics, journalists and campaigners who are dedicated to addressing issues that disproportionately affect you if you are male.
“Over the past thirty years, there has been a persistent and growing attainment gap between boys and girls in the UK. Yet, there has been little or no political focus on the causes of the gap, or the measures and policies that could be put in place to address it,” said Dan Bell, Chief Executive of the Coalition.
“Through our conversations with educators, it has become clear that this lack of policy focus is mirrored by a severe dearth of practical resources for teachers who are concerned about the under-performance of boys. What is out there, is scattered and inconsistent.
“We decided that it would at least be useful to create a single place with a range of options for educators to explore and draw upon.”
According to AMHF’s National Men’s Health Report Card published in June 2019 to mark Men’s Health Week in Australia, education is one of the key social factors that shapes a person’s life and health. Lower levels of education can be linked to shorter life expectancy, poorer physical and mental health, lower wages, higher risk of unemployment and greater exposure to crime.
“As far as boys are concerned, the education system across Australia delivers better results for girls at every stage,” says the report.
Quoting NAPLAN results for Year 5 student in Australia, AMHF reported that boys were:
- 1.7 times more likely to be below minimum standards of reading
- 2.2 times more likely to be below minimum standards of writing
- 1.3 times more likely to be below minimum standards of numeracy
Boys in Australia are also 52.2% more likely than girls to drop out of school before the end of Year 12.
In the UK, the Men and Boys Coalition reports that:
- 62,000 fewer boys/men go to university every year than girls/women
- By the age of 16, girls are over 20% more likely to achieve five GCSEs including English and Maths at Grade C or better
- In 2015, in England 52.5% of boys achieved 5 A*- C GCSEs including English and Maths in comparison to 61.8% of girls
- In England 26.2% of teachers are male, 15.2% of primary school teachers are male as are 37.6% of secondary school teachers
- 8.5% of teaching assistants and 18% of support staff are male. Overall, 19.9% of all school staff are male
- Boys are around three times more likely to receive a permanent or fixed period exclusion than girls
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