SSAT funded research into the achievement of white boys of British origin, eligible for free school meals. With the exception of travellers, these boys perform the least well of any group of students. In February 2011, DfE reported that only 23% gained five GCSEs at A*-C, including English and maths, compared to 55% of all pupils in the same year.
This performance is reflected in results from Key Stage 1 right through to higher education. In 2010, only 6% had entered any form of higher education by the age of 19.
These students are not of lower ability, so how do we prevent the education system failing large numbers of this group?
To answer this question the commissioned research (provided by EdYou) took a novel approach, concentrating on those boys who had Bucked This Trend. 50 successful students across the country were interviewed – and some revelatory outcomes discovered. Recurring themes from the interviews were translated into recommendations, written and validated by schools – for the benefit of schools. Key recommendations include:
- Systematic tracking of this group
- ‘Training’ boys to distinguish ‘work colleagues not mates’
- Early success as a ‘hook’
- The importance and impact of celebrating genuine achievement
- The importance of an ethos of high aspirations for all
- Teacher/student relationships
- Provision of out-of-hours work space
- Detailed and targeted IAG
- Pastoral support, complementary and understanding of individual home needs
- A detailed journey to personal autonomy