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Embargo 00:01 November 19th 2018



To coincide with International Men’s Day, today a panel of Britain’s leading experts in the field of boys’ education publish an unprecedented 14-point plan to address the extensive and growing gap in educational attainment between boys and girls.

The document is launched today in Westminster at the first national conference called by the Men and Boys Coalition, entitled Creating Positive Futures for Boys and Young Men.  Experts appearing at the conference and contributing to the action plan include Mary Curnock-Cook OBE, formerly CEO of the universities admission service UCAS; mental health campaigner and former government champion on children’s mental health, Natasha Devon MBE; and Professor Gijsbert Stoet of Leeds Beckett University. The conference will be opened by a keynote address from Robert Halfon MP, chair of the Education Select Committee.

The agreed 14 point action plan include demands for increased emphasis on literacy and attainment in school, a call for positive role models (not least in the teaching workforce), specific male mentoring schemes, approaches to male wellbeing and mental ill-health, awareness of colour blindness and a ‘take your son to university’ day.  Perhaps most eye-catching is the call for the creation of a multidisciplinary national ‘Centre for Men, Policy and Praxis’ to provide an authoritative academic voice for research and practical work with men and boys.

A PDF of the full document is available here:

Creating a More Positive Future for Boys and Young Men Fourteen Point Plan 19.11.2018

In introducing the report, Mary Curnock-Cook says:

“Everyone in the Men and Boys’ Coalition would support the welcome initiatives we see across education, employment, careers and other areas to support women to fulfil their potential. But it has become harder and harder to ignore the parallel challenges for boys and men.  Ridiculing or sometimes toxifying masculinity and ignoring male issues is not the way forward. All of us want both men and women to play their role in a tolerant, successful and inclusive society.”

Ally Fogg, a co-founder of the Men and Boys Coalition adds:

“For many years now, the persistent underachievement of boys and young men in education has been acknowledged as a social and economic crisis by educationalists, academics and politicians from across the spectrum. However their expressions of concern have never translated into government action. It is scandalous that to this day, the Department for Education has yet to fund one single initiative designed specifically to address boys’ educational underachievement. The Men and Boys Coalition is very proud to support and work alongside a wide range of charities, teaching bodies and academics who can offer countless examples of good practice, and to have commissioned this practical, solutions-based response to the crisis. We hope that the proposals it contains will be considered and adopted by all political parties at the earliest opportunity.”


Please note a copy of the 14 Point Plan is included with this release.

For more information please email or call 0744 360 3140

The conference is taking place Mary Sumner House, Tufton Street, Westminster, at


Notes for editors

  1. Attainment statistics

In 2018 62.3% of boys received A*-C grades whilst 71.4% of women received the same – the equivalent of 261,522 more A-C grades being awarded to girls than boys.

More young women than men sat A-levels in 2018 and more achieved A*-C grades than men (78.7% grades compared to 75.1%), which meant that female students received 76,891 more A*-C grades in total than male students.

In 2008, the gender gap between British men and women attending British universities was 48,000 (a percentage point gap of 12). By 2017 it had risen to 65,000. Over the decade 520,000 fewer British men had taken places at British universities (a 14 percentage point gap).

[sources Joint Council for Qualifications / UCAS]

  1. About the Men and Boys Coalition

The Men and Boys Coalition is a mutually supportive network of charities, campaign organisations, academics, writers, commentators and activists who are committed to taking action on gender-specific issues that affect men and boys in the UK.

Members of the Coalition share the aims of:

– Highlighting and tackling issues where the needs of men and boys are unmet

– Highlighting and tackling the circumstances where the victims of unfair discrimination are men and boys

– Helping create positive and constructive public discussion about men, manhood and masculinity