Dominion Post 2 April 2008
Bubble-wrapped boys are missing out on crucial rough and tumble in a “feminised” school system that doesn’t allow them to let off steam, a headmaster says. Ross Scrymgeour, head of private Hereworth School, Havelock North, says the banning of physical games like bullrush and murder-ball illustrates a “softly softly” approach to education that does not suit boys. His boys-only school’s “play rough” philosophy made pupils more attentive in class and taught them about physical boundaries. “Boys need to be exposed to this sort of thing,” Mr Scrymgeour said.
“I’m not talking about brawls, or fights, but physicality. Even the meekest and mildest, when put in a group of their own ability, will get something out of that. “It’s a natural part of their behaviour, going back to hunter-gatherer times.” Girls consistently outperform boys at secondary school. Some commentators blame the National Certificate of Educational Achievement’s heavy reliance on internal assessment, which they say suits girls better. Mr Scrymgeour said the feminising of New Zealand schools was breeding boys who could not express themselves or cope when things did not go their way.