(http://www.parity-uk.org/, 1st August 2007) On the 23 April this year, St George's Day, PARITY held a conference at the Royal Society of Medicine to address the problem of boys' persisting under-achievement at school and in academic life. This was funded largely by a grant from the National Lottery under the Awards for All scheme.
Many boys are failing at school. In average terms, they are increasingly lagging behind girls in all academic subjects. Fewer boys than girls are now actually taking A-levels and going on to university (only 43% of the total), and there is a shortage of applications for the basic sciences, with a resulting crisis in industry, academia and teaching in Britain today. The Government has taken little effective action so far. The problem includes a severe shortage of men in primary school teaching, and a lack of male role-models for many boys at home and throughout their young lives. In fact, boys’ nurture is being neglected from the word go.
The one-day conference, attended by teachers, parents, educational professionals, and others, considered the issues involved and the possible causes of why so many boys fail, and possible remedies.
Speakers at the conference included The Rt Revd Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester, Professor Ann Buchanan (Director of the Centre for Research into Parenting and Children, Oxford), Dr Christine Merrill and Professor Bruce Carrington (Durham and Glasgow universities), Lynette Burrows (mother and champion of the family), Alan Norgrove (junior school head), Dr Patrick Roach (Asst General Secretary of the NASUWT), Gary Wilson (education consultant), and Dr Chris Ford (‘Excellence in Cities’ Zone Director).
Shaun Bailey (youth worker) and Richard O’Neill (facilitator) also contributed.
During the lunch break, attendees were treated to a mix of light music played by the Brunellesche String Quartet – a group of young students from the Trinity College of Music, London.A resume of the conference discussion is planned to be available on this website in the autumn.