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Boys only club at DD's school

(72 Posts)
Scarzo Fri 13-Nov-15 12:03:11

It was announced in the newsletter that a program has been started up at our school for some yr 3 and 4 boys to "increase resilience and problem solving skills".

This is apparently because of the "differences between how boys learn" and "interact with peers". Also that boys are "cognitively 12 months behind girls when starting school"

They will be repairing second hand bikes and making models.

So while it's great that they're trying to help students that might be struggling with the structure of a typical classroom set up, I think it's really innapropriate that the opportunity is only open to boys.

Would this bother any of you? No other parents that I've spoken to seem concerned, so maybe I'm over thinking it.

I want to complain to the school, but am worried I wont get my point across succinctly.

Any advice on wording a pithy letter would be much appreciated!

Thanks, smile

teacherwith2kids Fri 13-Nov-15 12:12:00

Looked at from the school's perspective, this is almost certainly data-driven:

They will have identified Y3 and Y4 boys as a 'problem area' in their data.

They will have looked deeper into it, and may have found it is problem solving specifically, or may have found a level of disengagement amongst the boys.

They may well have tried a variety of different things, and found e.g. that they were not successful in achieving their objective; that their 'non-target' girls have taken many of the places in the activity; that the target boys won't engage in anything that they see as 'girly' etc etc.

They have therefore come up with this 'boys' only' club as a way of addressing it. In some ways, it is no different from e.g. nurture groups being only for children needing nurture; Pupil Premium interventions only being provided for those on Pupil Premium; extra PE for those best at OR worst at PE etc etc.

What would definitely be worth asking is whether, if this programme is successful, the school has plans in the future to offer it for other groups.

teacherwith2kids Fri 13-Nov-15 12:15:52

(My DCs' school has 'girls only' fitness sessions - because of an identified problem of girls not engaging in PE, and a deliberate effort to remove one of the key barriers to participation in sports by some teen girls - for example.)

mudandmayhem01 Fri 13-Nov-15 12:24:49

My daughter goes to guides and really benefits from doing activities in an all girl setting. I would find it difficult to support something like this and then conversely oppose single sex activities for boys.

Scarzo Fri 13-Nov-15 12:26:05

I get what you're saying teacherwith2kids. I do think it's a credit to the school that they're identifying these issues and tackling them.

However, with something like a girls' fitness group, there will likely be an alternative for boys (soccer/cricket for example). I just think fixing bikes etc would be a fun activity for girls as well, and there's nothing like this for them.

teacherwith2kids Fri 13-Nov-15 12:27:49

Have just realised that this is in feminism, so should add the following rider, as I don't often post on here:

If a school had billed it as 'bicycle maintenance / model building club' and then said that only boys could apply, that would be wrong (in the same way as offering 'knitting and sewing club' only for girls would be wrong). However, the fact that it is 'for some Y3 and Y4 boys' and there is the mention of 'boys being behind girls' makes me think it is a targeted 'intervention' rather than a true 'club', if that makes sense, and that the targeted group is specific boys, identified from the data.

School data is analysed by 'boys' and 'girls' (as well as in innumerable other ways), so schools will look at differences between the two groups with the aim of minimising those as far as possible.

teacherwith2kids Fri 13-Nov-15 12:31:29

X post. As I said, enquiring of the school whether, once this first programme has run, it will run again for other groups, including girls, is entirely reasonable.

Tbh, there is probably a large group of 'non target children, both girls and boys, thinking 'I'd like to do that', and the school could accommodate that by providing further 'run throughs' of this programme in future. Staffing makes it likely that they wouldn't be able to run several groups in parallel.

queenofthepirates Fri 13-Nov-15 12:33:28

Agreed but sometimes you just can't do everything within the school. I remember some of the less academic kids at my school being taught how to drive. I was so envious of them but of course I learnt later in life, outside of school. Sometimes it's unfair but then again, so if life.

Scarzo Fri 13-Nov-15 12:36:53

Mudandmayhem, I see your point as well. I get that, at this age particularly, girls and boys segregate themselves anyway and enjoy activities away from each other.

I just think girls could really benefit from this kind of hands on activity as well, but there is no opportunity for them, which is unfair imo.

VocationalGoat Fri 13-Nov-15 12:38:50

Well, the girls do netball (I signed my son up for this years ago. Didn't have a clue, being American).

You could fight your corner but changes would have to be made across the board because believe me, there are girls' only clubs and activities which mothers of boys could deem exclusive.

I think your argument will be stronger scarzo if you can identify one or two girls who have shown an interest in this particular club and feel excluded. Then you have a strong case. Does your daughter wish to join and does she feel unhappy because it's a boys' club?

teacherwith2kids Fri 13-Nov-15 12:39:17

Scarzo, there is no opportunity YET - but it doesn't mean that there couldn't ever be, especially if e.g. parents or others in the community were able to help?

RB68 Fri 13-Nov-15 12:40:46

whilst I understand the target and need for target it wouldn't hurt to open it out my daughter even though quite girly would be interested for sure - she didn't do lego club as perceived to be for boys - but loves building models and is a minecraft fiend

teacherwith2kids Fri 13-Nov-15 12:41:18

Vocational, my guess is that the members of the programme were 'selected', and it was not open application - and I also guess that there are as many disappointed boys as there are disappointed girls! In these cases, it is often the well-behaved, well-motivated, academically-successful boys who miss out, and wonder why it is that others who might try less hard get all of the fun opportunities!

Itsokispeakdumbass Fri 13-Nov-15 12:42:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Scarzo Fri 13-Nov-15 12:43:04

Queenof, you weren't denied the opportunity because you're a girl though were you?

teacherwith2kids Fri 13-Nov-15 12:43:25

RB68 - if it was opened out, it might well be that the target children were no longer willing to attend. Funding for the adult taking the programme may well be from e.g. Pupil premium or targeted school improvement funding, so the target children need to be retained IYSWIM?

teacherwith2kids Fri 13-Nov-15 12:45:15

Scarzo, I genuinely don't think this will be a matter of gender only. I think it will be 'for a target group', effectively excluding all others - exactly as programmes for pupil premium children, forces children, SEN children, children in need of nurture groups etc exclude all other children...

easterlywinds Fri 13-Nov-15 12:46:51

This is likely to be a social skills group for the boys who are having problems at school. It's an intervention to help then because there is a need. Not all boys will have the option of going. At our school, they do things like play games to practise turn-taking, tasks that require the boys to work together as a team, etc

teacherwith2kids Fri 13-Nov-15 12:50:04

Exactly, easterly. But in the newsletter it will have been phrased as it has because they want the children involved to have a positive view of the group, rather than seeing it as 'something they have to do because they're having problems'.

Scarzo Fri 13-Nov-15 12:54:35

Funnily enough, Vocational, I did ask dd1 if she would want to fix bikes and she's not actually bothered. So my concern was more general, rather than just for my own children.

I think teacher, your point about the well-behaved/motivated children feeling they are missing out strikes a chord. DD1 is very quiet and well-behaved. She has often been placed next to the more troublesome pupils in class (so much so a teacher once commented, she didn't know how dd1 put up with it) and I often feel this must have an impact on her learning. But she's just expected to get on with it as she's satisfying their targets. That's just a general school gripe, rather than potential issue of girls being disadvantaged.

Thanks for all your opinions. I'm quite happy to know I'm probably over thinking it grin

Elendon Fri 13-Nov-15 12:58:54

I believe that all children should not start full time schooling until the age of 6/7. However, since the UK don't do this, then it should at the very least be part-time, on a voluntary basis, until the end of the first term in Year 1.

What I would be questioning is whether or not this is a voluntary led initiative or if the school is funding it.

If it is an after school activity then it's fine, though I've never encountered in 16 years of sending my children to primary school specific gender based activities. I agree, that girls would also like this. Most groups of children tend to stay together at that age anyway.

Boys and girls can encounter social skill problems at primary school.

VestalVirgin Fri 13-Nov-15 14:00:46

Resilience? Hm. It is well known that boys are more likely to become criminal if they don't have a stable family environment when they grow up. If that's what this group aims to fix, then that's great.

However, there is a real problem with the quiet, well-behaved children (mostly girls) being left behind.

This "boys only" club could give you leverage to demand something similar for your daughter (first and foremost that she not be placed next to troublesome pupils in the future!) and the other girls.

Could be anything, (feminist) bookclub or self-defense, or weightlifting. (It is unfair that women have to spend our time with fixing the problems men create, but at least increasing one's amount of muscle also works as diabetes prevention)

hogbreath Sat 14-Nov-15 12:41:18

I think this is a great idea. I would only object if the equivelant club for girls was make-up or fashion orrientated. why sont you ask the school if they can organize a girls only club doing similar things.
Sometimes girls and boys having a bit of space from each other is a good thing.

bigjim123aa Sat 14-Nov-15 22:12:00

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

LayceeMae Sat 14-Nov-15 22:39:51

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