Girls' behaviour in class is 'deteriorating'

Passing a note Teachers often complain of low level disruptive behaviour in the classroom

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Girls' behaviour in the classroom seems to be deteriorating as much as their male classmates, a survey of teaching staff suggests.

A survey of teachers, heads and other school staff across the UK found that 44% believed girls' behaviour had worsened in the past two years.

This compares with 43% for boys, says a survey of 859 members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

But 68% of staff in the survey said boys' behaviour is more difficult.

Half of the surveyed staff thought boys' behaviour had got worse over the past five years, and 48% thought girls' behaviour was worse.

'Friendship problems'

One secondary school teacher who contributed to the study said: "Boys are more physically aggressive and usually to other pupils, with girls it is more name calling, less fighting."

For girls, most staff said bullying such as isolating another pupil from a friendship group, spreading rumours, making snide looks and comments, were the biggest problems (44%).

A 34-year-old teacher from Reading, said: "Girls spread rumours and fall-outs last a long time. Boys tend to sort it out fairly quickly."

And a teaching assistant from Weston-Super-Mare said: "Girls are definitely getting more violent, with gangs of girls in school who are getting worse than the gangs of boys."

A Department for Education spokesman said: "Teachers can't teach effectively and pupils can't learn if discipline is poor or there is continual low-level disruption.

"That's why we're giving teachers tough new powers and underlining their clear authority to crackdown on badly-behaved pupils."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    I have been teaching for 32 years in York . There has always been some low level disruptive behaviour from both genders, but recently it has been getting worse in girls. At one time, boys were much more of a problem, now it's more balanced.

    But let's get things in perspective; 95% of the students I teach are delightful and only a very small percentage causes any significant problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Whether girls' behaviour, compared with that of boys, is worsening, is hardly relevant to the issue.

    The fact that pupils of both sexes are allowed to treat their place of education as a forum for foul language and disrespect rather whips the rug from under the feet of those still opposing some form of physical punishment.

    Why are school governors turning a blind eye to teacher power ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Firstly this is not a gender issue. It seems that whole generations always seem to be classed worse than the last. Its ridiculous to assume a whole generation is worse because I know there was just as much violence if not more in schools in the 60/70s. My grandparents views compared to my parents views compared to my views on bad behaviour/language are all completely different so its hard to judge

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    As someone who has been through the GCSE education system recently, I believe such discruptive behaviour isnt the production of pupils alone, regardless of their sexes. Often enough, there are always teachers who can command their class effectively. In those lessons, not only pupils behave well, the standard of learning also improve accordingly. Teachers should learn sociology before teaching!

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    I coach rugby and can confirm that well motivated kids of either sex work hard, try hard and behave.
    I am also qualified to be a science teacher, but because I am not a current teacher I can't get a job (seriously).
    Schools would rather recycle poor teachers than employ someone new. As with any evolution process this means that we will get continually worse classrooms.


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