This project targets boys in reception, who ‘stand out’ and are finding it difficult to settle into school. The aim is to help them develop the skills they need to get the most from the classroom and reduce their risk of underachievement.
Girls continue to outperform boys at all levels of education in the UK from foundation to higher education; boys are four times more likely to be permanently excluded from school than girls and at least nine times more likely to have a learning difficulty. While boys are at least half of the top 20% (at all levels), they are more than three-quarters of the bottom 20%, so it isn’t ‘all boys’, but some boys that are underachieving.
This project aims to prevent underachievement by targeting those boys (as they come into reception) who exhibit characteristics that will prevent them settling into their learning, and heighten their risk of underachievement. While we share concerns about labelling children before they can walk and talk, early intervention has been shown to be effective in preventing underachievement and labelling of children later in their school career.
Schools are seeing more boys who are unwilling (or unable) to take instructions; have low communication skills; are easily ‘wound up’ by others; often distracted; over-physical and seemingly unable to show self-control. There can be up to three boys in each reception class who exhibit combinations of these characteristics.
We have been identifying boys that ‘stand out’; engaging their parents and teachers, and offering both strategies to develop boys behaviour and learning skills. By offering a combination of approaches that are practical and effective; at a time when both parents and teachers are receptive, we have seen relatively quick and significant changes in the targeted boy’s behaviour and active engagement in their learning.
While we have been developing this approach over the last three years, funding from The Paul Hamlyn Foundation has enabled us to deliver in three Lewisham schools (South East London), targeting 30 boys from September 2012 to July 2013 and evaluating its impact on Boys, parents, teachers and the schools generally. For more information click here, and to view the evaluation report, click here.
Project lead: Trefor Lloyd 07788781759 & firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boys Development Project, 270 Lordship Lane, Dulwich, London SE22 8LY. Website: www.boysdevelopmentproject.org.uk