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By Paul Connolly

This booklet attracts upon unique examine to ascertain the explicit concerns affecting boys and schooling within the first 3 years of education, and makes use of this learn as a foundation from which to discover the consequences for academics and early years staff.

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Biddulph (1997) provides one such example of this: Testosterone … affects mood and energy … There’s no doubt it causes energetic and boisterous behaviour … It can grow more muscles and less fat, and it can make you go bald and bad tempered! … Testosterone influences the brain and makes boys more concerned with rank and competition … Boys feel insecure and in danger if there isn’t enough structure in a situation. If no-one is in charge, they begin to jostle with each other to establish a pecking-order.

Each of these explanations will be examined in turn and their adequacy assessed against the evidence presented in the previous chapter. It will be argued that what is missing from all of these explanations (with the exception of the last one) is a focus 32 Rhetoric and reality on masculinity itself as appropriated and expressed by boys in school. With this in mind, the chapter concludes with a consideration of how masculinity has been theorised and understood. This, in turn, provides the basic starting point for the more detailed qualitative case studies to follow in later chapters.

26 Rhetoric and reality 100 95 No. 7 Number of boys per 100 girls in England reaching or exceeding expected standards* in National Curriculum Assessments of 7-, 11and 14-year-olds in English Source: Secondary analysis of data supplied by DfES – Teacher Assessments. Note: * Level 2 or above at Key Stage 1; Level 4 or above at Key Stage 2; Level 5 or above at Key Stage 3. of the overall social class background of the school and therefore, by implication, of the child. While it is far from perfect as a measure it is the only one available for social class and thus will have to suffice for the purposes of the present chapter.

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