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Boys underachieve in co-ed schools, says head

12/07/2011 Joanna
Primary school teachers at co-ed schools are likely to find that boys underperform when compared to girls, if one head master is to be believed.

Speaking at the International Boys' Schools Coalition on Sunday, David Levin of City of London School recognised the different educational needs of boys and girls.

The head expressed dismay at the 'feminisation' of the curriculum and believes there is too much emphasis on coursework and not enough focus on exams.

City of London School has switched to international GCSEs over the conventional style because they are entirely exam based.

Mr Levin said boys like immediate targets and tend to favour examinations over coursework, which he claims was introduced 20 years ago to combat underachievement among girls.

He said: "The prevalence of coursework is a major issue – boys don't respond well to it."

Since opting for international GCSEs, the head has seen a corresponding rise in the amount of A* and A grades reached by boys.

The Telegraph has released figures that show a decline from 2,500 to 400 in the number of same-sex schools over a 40 year period.

Currently, girls perform considerably better at all key stages, from primary to university; a fact Mr Levin puts down to the widening gap fuelled by the introduction of coursework.

According to Mr Levin, boys respond better to competitive teamwork, more varied tasks and a break between exercises.

He said: "We advise our teachers at City to vary what happens in class as much as possible and ensure boys are not just cocooned with a book."

Commenting to the Daily Telegraph, the head also expressed his belief that primary level would benefit from more male teachers, providing positive role models for young boys.

The news comes at the same time research from the Educational Endowment Foundation revealed disadvantaged pupils in challenging schools are showing poorer performance than they were three years ago.

Figures showed a 13 per cent decline in the number of underprivileged students attaining national standards.

Posted by Charlotte Michaels ADNFCR-2164-ID-800619181-ADNFCR
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