Boys' underachievement: issues, challenges and possible ways forward

J Burns, Paul Bracey

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


This article considers the issue of boys" perceived lack of achievement at 16 and the context within which this issue has developed. In addition to conducting a review of relevant literature concerned with boys" achievement, case study research was carried out in three comprehensive schools in the Midlands, taking the form of interviews with one senior member of staff from each school with a specific responsibility for boys" achievement. The purpose of the interviews was to consider how different schools perceived the issue of boys" underachievement and to examine the strategies employed by each to combat it. The discussion of the research indicates some significant factors affecting the ways in which boys identify themselves as being "male" and which may influence their behaviour and attitudes towards school and towards their peers. The authors attempt to place the issue of boys" underachievement into a wider social context and consider other factors which may have a bearing on the issue. The authors then attempt to relate the experiences of these three schools, and their other research, to the national picture and suggest ways in which teachers nationally may take steps to address the issue of boys" underachievement within their own schools.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-166
Number of pages11
JournalWestminster Studies in Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2001


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