Over the past six months, the APPG has heard evidence from a number of national and international education experts, including four headteachers, who set out how tot close the Gender Attainment Gap. They showed the gap in education results between boys and girls is not inevitable - it can be closed.
The report urges the Government and the education community to make tackling the Gender Attainment Gap a national education priority and to learn from those that have succeeded.
The APPG concludes that this gap has existed in plain sight for thirty years or more, yet there has been no political, institutional or educationalist will to try resolving it. This includes from the Department for Education which is unacceptable.
Based on the evidence, the report concludes there are four key pillars to successfully closing the Gender Attainment Gap:
- Institutional will
- Creating a boy-positive school environment
- Tactical interventions on better understanding boys, role models and mentors
- As a society, we need to better care about boys.
The APPG recommends schools and educationalists looking for a framework could start with Ulster University’s Taking Boys Seriously framework and adapt it to their own school’s needs. The APPG also concludes that these pillars and policy recommendations will not harm the educational achievement of girls.
A range of policy measures in the report include:
- Ofsted assessing schools on how they are addressing their Gender Attainment Gap;
- Funding for boys’ mentoring programmes;
- Increasing the number of male teachers;
- Teaching being promoted to as a career for young men (“This Boy Can”);
- Ensuring that trainee teachers are aware that boys’ underachievement is not inevitable;
- To avoid making matters worse, very close scrutiny is needed of the course content of any organisations teaching boys about so-called “toxic masculinity” and related topics.
I am confident that you will find this report useful to you and the work of the committee.