Boys' education

Australian Government, Department of Education, Science and Training


Over the past decade there has been considerable community concern about the level of achievement attained by boys in Australian schools.

An inquiry into the education of boys in Australian schools was conducted in 2002 by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Training found that overall, while many boys in Australian schools are doing well, boys are not achieving as well as girls across a range of educational and social measures.

Some areas of concern for boys compared to girls are their lower literacy achievement, lower school retention and lower levels of participation in higher education. Boys also have higher rates of school exclusion. There is also evidence that boys’ performance as a group in areas such as literacy has declined over time.

To help those boys who are not achieving in school, the Australian Government is delivering a range of innovative programmes.

Success for Boys is a national $19.4 million initiative that is offering average grants of $10,000 up to 1,600 schools over 2006 and 2007. Success for Boys focuses on at-risk and disadvantaged boys and will address the following key intervention areas: positive male role models; literacy; information and communication technology; and improving Indigenous boys’ engagement with school and educational achievement.

Boys’ Education Lighthouse Schools is a $7 million initiative that was implemented in two stages over 2003 – 2005, and has provided funding to over 550 schools to assist them in improving boys’ educational outcomes.

The Australian Government has also managed a number of research projects relevant to boys’ education, and was the major sponsor of the 4th biennial Working with Boys, Building Fine Men conference held on 3-5 April 2005.

For further information on research into boys’ education please visit our boys’ education research and websites page, which includes the 2003 Australian Government publication Educating Boys.