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Growing up in Ireland

Boys ditch homework and mitch school (but still better at maths than girls)

An ESRI conference heard boys are more likely than girls to be absent from school and less likely to do homework.

BOYS ARE MORE likely than girls to bunk-off school and claim the dog has eaten their homework, a conference has heard today.

The Economic and Social Research Institute presented details of its Growing Up in Ireland study at a conference opened by Education Minister Ruairí Quinn this morning.

The survey of 20,000 children, their families and teachers began in January 2007 and is aiming to gain a better understanding of the key factors encouraging or undermining the development of Irish youngsters.

ESRI researcher, Denise Frawley, told the conference 31 per cent of boys occasionally come to school without their homework compared to 25 per cent of girls.

Boys also finish behind their female counterparts when it comes to reading, with 11 per cent more girls saying they read for fun everyday.

Frawley’s study of 8,500 nine-year-old children also found boys had higher levels of absenteeism from school than girls. However, boys significantly out-perform girls when it comes to maths.

Young males are two-and-half times more likely than girls to say they “never like school” and three times more likely to say they “never like a teacher”, Frawley said.

These results raise concern over boys’ engagement with, and enjoyment of, schooling, with a potentially detrimental impact on their longer-term educational development and performance.


The conference also heard children in DEIS  (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) schools have lower reading and maths results compared to those in non-disadvantaged schools.

Overall one-in-four children are likely to have some form of special educational needs but this is in line with international estimates.

However, children from working-class backgrounds are more likely to be diagnosed with a special need, particularly in relation to emotional and behavioural difficulties.

University of Oxford professor, Pamela Sammons, told those gathered in ERSI headquarters in Dublin that a child’s school performance is strongly linked to the level of education attained by their parent, especially their mothers.

A high quality pre-school education was noted as having a lasting affect on a child’s development later in life.

Read:  Revealed: the life of a 13-year-old growing up in Ireland >

Read: ESRI: One in five people are living in jobless households >

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