‘Stop praising girls to help boys in school,’ parents told

The Telegraph is reporting warnings from a private school head that teachers should stop praising girls in classrooms because it disaffects boys and widens the gender gap…

…Patrick Wenham, headmaster of Bickley Park School for boys believes the culture of praising girls should stop so boys are more engaged with learning.

Writing in Attain, the magazine of the Independent Association of Prep Schools, Mr Wenham said: “Young boys tend to struggle more than girls with fine motor skills which means their handwriting is often less well developed: no matter how much the education system has changed, the way written work is presented still has an impact on how much it is praised.

“Boys have shorter concentration spans which means they are often perceived to be a nuisance when sat alongside girls, who are often eager to please: because of this, girls can receive more praise from both teachers and parents which motivates them to achieve. This culture can lead boys to be disaffected with learning and cause them to be attention-seeking in their behaviour…”


Patrick Wenham goes on to make suggestions about male role models and allowing boys to get muddy and messy exploring the outdoors.

What do you make of the suggestion that there is, in effect, a spiral of good behaviour leading to praise leading to more good behaviour for girls in school? Any validity to it and does Mr Wenham make a reasonable suggestion that teachers should be careful not to priase girls too much? Please give us your reactions in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Teaching.


  1. 5N_Afzal

    If girls thrive on praise and boys are hampered by girls being praised then this may be another argument for single sec education.

  2. There we go again!  the next ‘big idea’ in education.  All opinion and reasoned argument and no evidence.
    Improving learning is not a mystery.  Ignore opinion and join EBTN.

  3. elcapitanleics

    SchoolsImprove children should be praised for helping others in right way regardless of gender and ethnicity

  4. DavidGoulbourn1

    hpmcveigh SchoolsImprove Oh dear. Cannot ‘stop praising’ because boys get ‘affected’; Praise the boys for their work, too is the answer.

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