A case for segregation;Letter

17th September 1999 at 01:00
Recent issues of The TES Scotland have highlighted the poor performances of boys in public examinations and the lack of male teachers and classroom assistants in primary schools. Is it possible that these worrying trends have a simple and common cause, namely that fewer and fewer boys like school, apart from the opportunity it gives them to meet their friends?

Would matters be improved if we taught 50 per cent of the curriculum in single-sex classes? That would permit the development of subject content and teaching strategies that suited boys without damaging the interests of girls or losing the advantages of co-education.

Different subjects might be given single-sex treatment at different times, but perhaps language, social subjects and some topics in personal and social education would be the strongest candidates. Is it not, for instance, more than a little unkind to boys to give sex education to a mixed class of pubescent girls and pre-pubescent boys?

We pride ourselves on providing a child-centred education. Are we paying attention to what boys actually think or feel and how they actually behave, or are we only listening to what prevailing ideology tells us about them?

We reap what we sow. It looks as if we are reaping a generation of school-phobic males. Perhaps we should sow something different.

David Hill

Relugas Road

Edinburgh

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