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Setting A Context

“Making sure children have a fair share of the wheels in the lego, turns using the computer and opportunities to dress up or play with dolls, only ensures equality of access, not true equality of opportunity.  We now need to refocus and ensure real equality by understanding the needs of boys and girls; their differences as well as their similarities; the different ways they learn; the different ways their brains develop.  Only when we can honestly say that every girl and every boy has their individual needs catered for, will we be able to say we have achieved equality of opportunity.” 

  • Quote from ‘Boys and Girls come out to play’ (2005) by Bayley and Featherstone.

  • Quote from ‘Boys and Girls come out to play’ (2005) by Bayley and Featherstone.

In the 21st Century, we have a considerable gender imbalance within our society.  The gender pay gap remains one of the hottest publicised topics within the press in many countries around the world. However, within the Early Years sector we face an equally daunting gender imbalance.

In the UK, a Good Level of Development (GLD) for children at the end of the Reception Year is expected across 12 of the 17 aspects.  Children must meet the Early Learning Goal (ELG) in all of these 12 aspects in order to be awarded GLD.  In 2017, 77% of girls achieved this GLD nationally. For boys, it was 64%. 

This deficit continued into Year one for the phonics check where there was a 7% difference, and an 8% difference in both the KS1 & KS2 Sats results (combined). 

At GCSE level, there is a 9% difference between girls and boys who achieve A*-C, favouring girls. 

This is not an exclusively British problem. Studies in America, Australia and New Zealand all reveal a significant problem which starts within the Early Years and carry on into later school years. 

As Early Years Educators we know that data does not define the children in our care.  But even anecdotal evidence or glimpses into staffrooms around the country will reveal an understood and engrained difference between boys and girls in achievement, progress, dispositions to learning and behaviour. 

We know that every child deserves to reach his or her potential. 

Through this training module I hope that you will begin to understand the true differences between boys and girls and how these should not be limiters to them achieving highly. 

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