Reversing the Feminising of British Education
“Those who sow the wind, reap the whirlwind” except in Education the whirlwind is being reaped not by the sowers but by a whole generation of English boys in the lower half of the ability spectrum.
What are the dragon’s teeth which have been sown by a generation of politicians, teachers and educationalists? They are essentially the PC obsessions with:
- Female advancement
- Ethnic minorities
- Not teaching children to speak grammatically and enunciate clearly
The evidence for this is:
- Boys perform worse than girls in all exams from key stages 1-3 (ages 7-14), GCSE (age 16) and A-levels (age 18) except at the very highest grade A* at A-level and in Maths, Physics and Chemistry which are taken by only about 4% of the age group.
- For below average pupils, a recent report in the Times Educational Supplement by Tim Leung of the London School of Economics, a government educational advisor, showed that on reading tests at age 6, English boys were the worst performing ethnic group out of 14 – this in their native homeland.
- In 2011 only 22% or about one fifth of GCSE entrants were entered for the matriculation block of six academic subjects – maths, 2 sciences, a foreign language, English and either history or geography. This block is now referred to as the English baccalaureate. Some state schools had no entrants at all.
- In a period of only 7 years, the number of entries for non-academic subjects in GCSE rose from 15,000 in 2004 to 575,000 in 2010.
- In virtually the same period the Programme for International Student Assessments (PISA) which tests the reading standards and the basic maths standards of 5,000 15 year-olds, representative of each country’s population every 3 years, showed that over virtually the same period 2000-2009, Britain dropped from 6th and 8th among the 30 OECD countries to 26th and 28th for these two key standards.
- Employers repeatedly complain about 16 year-olds not able to write properly or speak clearly.
- When the present Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, took office in May 2010, he was appalled at the levels of achievement attained by the lowest and middle ranks of ability, and the fantastic complacency about this exuded by teachers’ “leaders” in the state sector (which in the UK accounts for 93% of pupils aged 5-18 years). Mr Gove has taken numerous steps to rectify this terrible situation in the teeth of fierce opposition from the schools education establishment (SEE): namely departments of education in the universities, teachers’ unions, officials in the Department for Education itself, and the 50 odd local education authorities (LEAs).
Secondary Education appears almost exclusively a feminine activity
When the GCSE (16+) and A-level (18+) results are announced in England, anybody would think that only girls were involved. The newspapers usually feature, on their front pages, girls hugging each other in delight at their success – boys are nowhere to be seen. What is a non-academic boy to make of this, particularly someone from a “poor” home of which there are about 25% in some districts? There are huge numbers involved here – there are around 4 million boys aged 5-16, of whom perhaps 2 million fall into the non-academic category. Not only are a lot of boys understandably not encouraged by education, they are positively turned off by being made to study what most young males see as female activities – cooking and sewing in particular.
Primary Education appears to be exclusively concerned with immigrant and ethnic minority children in some areas
When a crisis erupts, the BBC invariably follows a minister to a school where the majority of the pupils are usually Afro-Caribbean. The teachers are almost uniformly all female. What all this and the preoccupation with female advancement at the other end of the school age range tells you, if you are one of the 2 million native English boys below average academic ability, is that school education is not for you – but only for girls or swots.
What is needed to correct this appalling situation?
- The schools and the media need to switch their focus away from girls and ethnic minorities, who have had a disproportionate amount of resources and attention, to English boys. This may also be needed by boys in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well.
- Single sex schools should be reintroduced in the interests of both sexes.
- Mr Gove’s inspired idea of promoting new schools manned by suitable ex-military personnel should be focussed on boys-only schools with a curriculum which plays more to the strengths of boys rather than girls. In this context, eliminating school assessed project work for national GCSE and A-level exams as Mr Gove intends, will help boys at both ends of the ability spectrum.
 Department for Education (DfE) exam statistics for 2012 and 2013.
 As judged by average exam scores for all boys.
 Usually calculated as having entitlement to free school meals.
 Girls are usually less competitive and more conformist than boys. Project work was introduced with GCSEs in 1989 as a way of encouraging “in-depth” study, but actually opened the door to parental cooperation in producing the reports for the examiners.