RESPONDING TO CONCERNS: POLICIES AND
STRATEGIES IN GENDER AND EDUCATION
Concern over gender-related inequalities, like many educational issues, has tended to wax and wane with time. In the mid 1970s and 1980s, concern was expressed over the lack of participation of girls in certain areas of the curriculum, notably the sciences and mathematics. More recently genderrelated differences have come to the fore once again, but this time in relation to behaviour and, more significantly, attainment — areas where boys are now perceived as disadvantaged by aspects of schooling. This is not unique to the United Kingdom and similar concerns have been raised in, for example, Australia (Mills et al., 2007) and Canada (Kehler and Greig, 2005). As part of the study of strategies implemented by Scottish schools to address such concerns, evidence of an underpinning rationale for their adoption, explicit and/or implicit, local and/or national, was sought in each case.
This chapter reflects on the role of policy in gender equality and education and considers how the issue of gender might be taken forward in the broader context of a policy framework for social justice and inclusion in education generally, as well as within the more focused area of learning and teaching. It draws together the evidence from the case studies in the SEED research project (Condie et al., 2005) and the literature with the aim of identifying some of the common themes that have emerged in relation to the adoption of classroom strategies within pre-5 and school settings.
In order to understand better the genesis and implementation of genderrelated strategies in schools, it is necessary to consider the policy context in which they have arisen, at national and local levels. At the time of the study, there was no national policy that referred directly to gender-related dimen-