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Are the boys being discriminated against?

(53 Posts)
bettycat81 Fri 30-Sep-16 11:48:21

So DS's school have just published their fortnightly newsletter along with award winners (2 winners per class). Out of 14 awards only 4 have gone to boys. It was the same ratio in the last newsletter. So out of a total of 28 awards 8 have gone to boys. DS's class is very boy heavy with 5 girls and 17 boys. 3 out of the four awards have gone to girls. This follows a similar theme to previous years so it's not just a case of the 1st month...

So what is going on here? Does this follow in other schools? Are boys discriminated against generally in education or is it just that at our school the boys across the school are not meeting the requirements to win an award? - (I don't think this is the case). Of course the awards are just a snapshot and I have little knowledge of what goes on in the classroom so would love to hear people's thoughts and experiences.

redskytonight Fri 30-Sep-16 12:59:48

Are they the sort of awards that every will get assigned at some point of the year? Or ones genuinely given out on merit? Either way, you have a very statistically low sample!

irvineoneohone Fri 30-Sep-16 13:13:18

Not at my ds's school.
Isn't that a case of girls being a bit more mature and doing a bit better at this stage? Especially if it follows similar theme from last year?

RosesShouldBeInTins Fri 30-Sep-16 13:28:58

In my experience (two sons just on our way out of primary school now) - absolutely! Girls behave in a way most primary school teachers approve of. In terms of (bad) behaviour charts...I've only ever seen them for boys (not mine, I'm not bitter!). It's rather depressing and thankfully not the same at secondary school.

bojorojo Fri 30-Sep-16 13:59:04

At our junior school a boy and a girl are selected each week from each class. There is always some good aspect a boy can achieve. I would say the critia for selection are too narrow if boys cannot achieve the targets. It is not right and you should query it. We look for children being great learners, enthusiasm, perseverance, trying hard, helping others, being enthusiastic, outstanding achievement in something (can be outside school), having a great input into a sports match, reading in assembly when the child thought they couldn't manage it etc. There should be lots of criteria that can be included and it is not necessarily sugary sweet behaviour!

WankersHacksandThieves Fri 30-Sep-16 14:09:31

imo yes.

I'm currently in debate with our High school over a very similar issue. 9% of boys and nearly 70% in my younger son's year received an annual award for effort. I'm not saying that the boys were necessarily under rewarded but how is it that the boys are finding it so much harder to be rewarded? is it the criteria that favours girls, are the boys under motivated or is (according to my son) that the girls tend to get the benefit of the doubt in situations that always result in some type of discipline against a boy? My son has no axe to grind here as he was rewarded. In my elder son's year awards are roughly 50/50. Younger son's year is also higher in boys than girls.

I asked the school for what strategies they have in place and got a wishy washy response about speaking to teachers and the year group. This is the third year this has happened, they seem to just be waiting until they leave but it's doing a disservice to these boys and effectively demonising them.

WankersHacksandThieves Fri 30-Sep-16 14:13:12

sorry that should say nearly 70% of girls received an award.

jelliebelly Fri 30-Sep-16 14:15:45

It may be unconscious bias that needs bringing to the head 's attention. It will be demotivating for boys and perpetuates the "girls are good" "boys are naughty" myth.. I would lobby for change.

bojorojo Fri 30-Sep-16 14:16:56

WHT. The school itself should be addressing the question of less perceived effort by the boys and what they can do about it because it will affect progress and outcomes. It may be their reward system does not motivate the boys? So they could look to change it. They should consider what other schools (outstanding) are doing to ensure boys do as well as girls. It is not good enough to be wishy washy!

eyebrowsonfleek Fri 30-Sep-16 14:18:30

It's always one boy and one girl if it's an award that's not the type that everyone will eventually get.
(one class has 22 girls and 3 boys )

steppemum Fri 30-Sep-16 14:27:07

actually, this is why ds goes to a boys only secondary. They love boys, they understand boys and their reward systems are motivating to the boys.

I do think there is a bias in school towards girls with behaviour, because sitting still is highly prized.
I don't want to stereotype boys and girls, there are obviously quiet boys who sit well and physical girls who get told off for wriggling. But for whatever reason, it is a thing.

Most schools would be aware and add criteria to the rewards system so that it was fair. But some teachers, especially (dons hard hat) young single newly qualified women, don't really get boys very well.

WankersHacksandThieves Fri 30-Sep-16 14:32:15

indeed it isn't good enough bojorojo.. I've suggested he may actually find some benefit in actually speaking to the boys as individuals to ask them what they think the problem might be. I feel that my son's perception of the situation is a problem regardless of whether he is correct or not. Merely having the perception is bad enough.

I've also pointed out that whilst poor behaviour may indicate a lack of effort (they are only rewarded for effort) it is not necessarily the same thing. DS2s examples were things such as an eraser being thrown by a girl at a boy which hits him on the head, he picks it up and launches it back (which of course he shouldn't do) it hits the girl on the shoulder, she yelps and he gets sent out the class even though the teacher is made aware that he didn't start it. Girls sit and giggle away in a group about something, nothing said. One boy lets out a loud laugh and is sent out. It's only small things but the boys notice clearly.

WankersHacksandThieves Fri 30-Sep-16 14:36:33

A previous head teacher gave the year groups and parents a lecture about the fact that the girls make so much more effort on charity things and community things in the school. Completely ignoring that the majority of the boys were involved in Boys Brigade, Scouts, ATC, Cadets etc who all do local charity and community work whereas very few of the girls are involved in the same or similar groups locally. So they get damned once again.

RosesShouldBeInTins Fri 30-Sep-16 16:31:26

That situation you describe with the eraser is absolutely the case and one I hear of often! If a girl complains about a boy, she's right and the boy gets punished. The fact that she is wrong, or she made it up or she started it does not seem to be relevant.

And no need for hard hat...I also agree it tends to be young female teachers who are the worst.

Even though I said further up that it's not the same in secondary school, I've realised it is! It's a bit different to primary schools but I think my son has been totally put off a subject he may have chosen for GCSE because of the teacher and her attitude to boys.

One way that secondary school is better I suppose it that there are a lot more male teachers.

WankersHacksandThieves Fri 30-Sep-16 16:59:41

I also agree re the young female teachers, DS2 does have a whinge now and then about it. The problem is that the only method of reward is effort and incidents like the ones above that aren't really worth a damn are taken as a reason to deduct marks from boys so instead of getting a 6/6, they get a 5 or a 4 and even that one lower mark means that they miss out on recognition for the year. Teenage boys do lack confidence just as well as teenage girls but there is generally no account taken of this and no support given. That lack of confidence can manifest itself in a different way with a boy, he may just try to be the class clown or invent a bit of a swagger and before you know it he's been badged. I'm not trying to generalise or say that girls are not also overlooked or treated unfairly, just pointing out a few inconsistencies.

eyebrowsonfleek Fri 30-Sep-16 17:13:48

When my son was in primary school there was a girl in his class who would try to hug and kiss boys and the school didn't take it seriously at all. I really believe that if girls had been complaining about a boy doing the same then the school would have taken it more seriously.
I think that boys really suffer from a lack of male teachers at primary. I know that the UK has a culture of men who want to work in nurseries and infants are paedos in disguise which means that change is painfully slow.

irvineoneohone Fri 30-Sep-16 17:24:17

" I know that the UK has a culture of men who want to work in nurseries and infants are paedos in disguise which means that change is painfully slow."

I am a bit shocked at this comment. My ds's school have many male teachers, including ks1. They are all great. Non of them alarm me in the sense of, could be a "paedo."

midcenturymodern Fri 30-Sep-16 17:28:38

In our school usually and equal number of boys and girls get in the 'golden book' but my observation of having 2 boys and 2 girls pass through (youngest 2 still there) is that there are much lower expectation on the boys, particularly in terms of behaviour. There is an idea that the boys need to wonder around the classroom to get out their energy, that the whole playground should be given over to boys football games (1 ball only allowed, girls are routinely excluded from games) and boys are not expected to sit down and crack on with the drudgery of learning. The girls seem to learn very early to sit on their arses, listen to the teacher and behave. It doesn't seem any wonder that boys lag behind girls academically in almost every society when the expectations are lower and they know they will be the ultimate winners anyway.

I think it is the low pay and low status that puts men off childcare and primary teaching, not some bizarre notion that strangers will think they are a sex offender.

WankersHacksandThieves Fri 30-Sep-16 18:00:57

When my DH was training as a nurse, part of the course involves doing a childcare placement. As the children's hospital obviously can't accommodate a placement for every single student nurse in the city, a lot of the placements were in nurseries. As a male mature student (early 30s) my DH was only allowed to be in the main room supervised at all times and not allowed to change a nappy or take a child to the toilet under any circumstances. This was put in place after canvassing parents.

DSs had a male primary teacher, he was so much in demand that he was promoted quickly and was a deputy head within about 4 years of training and earning much more than the high school equivalent - he was very good though.

TeacherBob Fri 30-Sep-16 18:27:18


that's a very outdated view, get over yourself

TeacherBob Fri 30-Sep-16 18:29:18

Back to OP though, what happened in preceeding weeks?

Maybe it was boy heavy before that?

Award winners are usually (in every school I have worked in over 20 years) spread out so that every child gets one at some point.

Just a snapshot of two weeks doesn't say much

eyebrowsonfleek Fri 30-Sep-16 18:40:03

It is not my view but I've seen people on here and in real life express discomfort at a male caregiver changing a nappy or that a man is (shock horror) photographing children in public.

bettycat81 Fri 30-Sep-16 20:03:34

TeacherBob I began to notice the trend last year, at one point (over half way into the year) I tallied up for DS' class and over half the awards had gone to girls despite girls only making up under 25% of the class. Since then I kept an eye but didn't tally as I have done so far this year. I know it's only a small sample which is why I am canvassing other people's experience to see if it is a regular trend. I'd also be interested to see if any schools have programmes in place to deal with the issue (if one exists). There are regular patenting courses on raising boys in our area but I haven't really heard of "teaching boys" courses.

Seryph Fri 30-Sep-16 20:37:33

Sorry but as a relatively 'young female teacher' I really take offence to what have been said by PPs.
I also cannot stand the whole 'boys need to run about but the girls can sit nicely' bollocks! In many classes I've seen often there are at least as many if not more boys who can sit and work quietly than the girls who are up and bouncing around and chatting.

TeacherBob Fri 30-Sep-16 21:05:29

eyebrowsonfleek they can go fk themselves too then

stupid twats

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