Investigating Gender: Contemporary Perspectives in Education

By Becky Francis; Christine Skelton | Go to book overview

14
Endnotes: gender, school
policies and practices

Christine Skelton and Becky Francis


Introduction

In bringing together the work of the authors in this book we have provided a snapshot of gender, theory and education at the turn of the twenty-first century. The contributors to Part 3 have explored the interrelationship of gender, theory and education for particular aspects of social identity. And while our intention has been to chart theoretical developments, we recognize that readers may well be interested in what these theories 'look like' in terms of school policy and classroom practices. In this concluding chapter we briefly outline where and how 'gender issues' feature in educational policy and provision.


Education policy and 'equal opportunities: gender'

Many contributors to this book have referred to the media and government furore over boys' 'underachievement'. The concern for some commentators has been to not only identify ways in which boys' underachievement can be tackled by schools, but also to locate the reasons why they are 'failing'. As was shown in Chapter 12, some have blamed the rise of second-wave feminism in the 1960s and 70s and the subsequent passing of various civil rights parliamentary acts for the (perceived) underachievement of boys. The debates and misconceptions around boys' underachievement have been widely discussed (see Epsteinet al. 1998; Raphael Reed 1999; Skelton 2001), but it is worth looking at educational policy regarding gender in recent decades and asking whether the implementation of equal opportunities initiatives could have contributed towards these current concerns over boys.

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