Teachers and lower attaining boys: moving beyond the binary?

Tina Collins, Louise Gazeley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper focuses on the learning experiences of lower attaining boys attending Stone Acre, a non-selective state Secondary school in England, and how these were shaped by teachers’ gendered beliefs and practices. It argues that despite changes in our theoretical understandings of gender, those found in the context of everyday practice in schools may continue to be rooted in biological understandings of masculinity that tend to reinforce rather than challenge assumptions of deficit. It argues that these interactions form part of a gender regime that also includes the lower-status learning spaces disproportionately occupied by lower attaining boys, with selective grouping practices and the curriculum both contributing to the limiting understandings of boys’ educational potential that are ultimately reflected in persistently gendered patterns of attainment. The small number of boys who took part in this study clearly recognised the less favourable positioning of boys as a group. Despite this they went on to achieve beyond expectations, suggesting that they maintained some agency as learners. Teachers at Stone Acre were also under pressure to ensure achievement against performance threshold levels, suggesting that there may have been some mitigating, trickle down effects. The paper concludes that there is a continuing need for teachers to develop more inclusive understandings of masculinities and of the effects of these on everyday practices in schools.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEducational Review
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 17 Dec 2021


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