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 31.

    These unruly kids need far greater discipline at home, and teachers need far greater powers to impose punishments. If all these fail, then kick them out of the school. We are paying for these kids "education" through our taxes. No wonder standards are so low and dumbdowned now, and present "A" levels are below the standard of yesterdays "O"s!

  • 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.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Under-funded over crowed schools never help, and parent who undermine the schools authority! How do you punish children when parents refuse to let them stay for detention and reinforce teachers are stupid education is a waste of time? We're not all bad, it's the minority that spoils it for the rest, not only are we tarred with the same brush, but we have to put up with them in classrooms :/

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Until teachers are allowed to disipline children, the situation will only get worse.

    Corporal punishment should return, fast.

    Until children are put in their places, and taken off the streets at night, things will only get worse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Sorry for this second one, but as you've found out you have to do it to get all points in. I don't know about caning - wasn't it because while this kind of abuse was used girls weren't educated in schools anyway? We certainly had the belt when I was at school in the 1960s! Yes, the criminal justice system is absurdly soft on female offenders - maybe it doesn't take them seriously - yet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Children have always behaved like this, and always will. Instead of fighting it, we should embrace it and work with it. "The Old Guy"s comments below show this has been the case for at least 3000 years!

    When teachers have no authority, this is not a surprising development. Kids that age are smart, and will take any leniency they can get. As our teachers have no power, the kids will rule.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Since co education girls have spent their years in classrooms dominated by spoiled disruptive boys-maybe they have learned to be heard they have to be just as loud. The cane or other disciplines mentioned have nothing to do with it-boys are almost always more indulged and encouraged to be silly and boisterous with no regard for the consequences than they were even only 30 years ago .

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    You are quite right. Hence, Boys' aggression was encouraged - preparation for the cannon-fodder: girls aggression was suppressed. One was as distorting and deforming of human nature as the others. In invaded countries, of course, females died unarmed, without a chance to defend themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Why not set up some student exchanges for the worst unruly children, maybe with the Taleban, & include sending the parents as well, I am sure learning of respect would be very quick.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    School problems are mostly caused by teachers and the fact theres no coperal punishments. Take one school in Aberdeen for instance, they don't take registration untill 9.35am because they know if they took it 1 hour before at least 15-30% of the kids going to school that day wont be there! Taking away the belt or cane was the worst idea ever and as parents we are very limited in what we can do!

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Considering that their celebrity role models are nearly all loudmouthed, illiterate and immoral, what else is to be expected. Turn on the TV at Eastenders or Waterloo Road and without fail you will find it's in the middle of a screaming match or worse. And schools are now populated with teachers who can barely articulate themselves ; and certainly do not engender any respect from the kids.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Is it really deteriorating or is it just a different generation of teachers reflecting their beliefs.

    Each generation is reported as worse than the past, yet my memorys of 1970s education include violent & abusive children and also teachers, some of whom would throw desks/chairs & blackboard rubbers at teenage children, & whole schools used to gang fight other schools, especially in summer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    It's a statement of the blindingly obvious. The liberals have been falling for the 'Woman's Hour' type line that 'sisters together are strong' and men are vile line for years now, like some parody of the already hilarious Greenham Common thing.

    It is and was always utter nonsense. This report is saying nothing that any most people haven't known for ages.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    what do you expect to happen when young girls like my 14 year old niece told me she does not respect hr teacher because they don't respect her, i told her respect should be earned and children like her will one day understand why

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    I'm a pensioner and therefore have more experience to draw on - but the threat of six strokes with a whippy cane brought me under control after the second application by our headmaster. Short, smart and effective. A ruler over the knuckles soon brought my attention back in classes. And telling our parents just brought another punishment, not sympathy or ambulance chasers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    7. silverfish51
    Young females were historically passive and biddable because their upbringing subjected them to constant repression and psychological terrorism. Only the luckiest or the strongest characters developed normally
    Whereas their male counterparts were conscripted & machine gunned by the thousand in the European wars we had every generation instead.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Its worth pointing out that traditionally boys were caned: girls were not. Boys did 2 or 3 years national service. Girls did not. Even today an assault severe enough for a male assailant to be jailed will not mean jail for a female assailant. If women want sex equality perhaps we can have equal sentencing & punishment for equal crimes?

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Last one, I promise.
    "I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on
    the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless
    beyond words. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discrete and
    respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and
    impatient of restraint.
    --- Hesiod, Eighth Century B.C."

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Social media have alot to do with it. Girls seem to have far more online arguments rather than face-to-face (boys) and the fall-out can go on for ages.

    Children certainly will say things online that they wouldn't say to peoples faces and then it escalates. Pre-internet things mainly started and finished in the school playground.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    not surprised at all. for the past ten years there's been a serious deteriation in young females driving behaviour.speeding, dangerous overtaking,ignoring signals and abusive hand signals and verbal abuse. I realise its a proportion but it seems that there are more young 'ladies' than 'men' these days.


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