Great Expectations – The problem with motivating boys in secondary education


This presentation explores the academic motivation and achievement expectations of secondary aged boys in the English education system. Building on my 2017 research, which compared the motivation of students in two secondary schools in an area of social deprivation, I reveal some surprising discoveries. I argue that the problem is not low academic motivation but low academic expectations. Drawing on mine and others’ contemporary research, I propose a number of recommendations for school leaders which may go some way towards raising the expectations and outcomes for boys in your school. This is a timely session given the size of the disadvantage gap and the comparatively low performance of White British boys from low-income families in the UK education system.