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Do fathers take an equal interest in their daughter’s education and are they becoming more protective? Yes – according to a recent straw poll of head teachers featured in today’s Telegraph.
When asked who pays more attention to their daughter’s academic progress, over 51% of head teachers in the Girls’ Schools Association survey said that fathers and mothers were equally interested. Just under 42% said that mothers paid more attention. And when it comes to attending parents’ evening, an overwhelming majority of heads – 92% – said that both parents turn up. Only 5% of respondents said that mothers typically attend on their own.
Almost half – 48.78% – believe fathers are more protective of their daughters than they used to be, the most overwhelming reasons being that ‘they feel less in control because of social media’ and ‘they’re worried about the influence of the media and celebrity culture.’ Along a similar theme, a less frequently cited reason is ‘they perceive the world as a more dangerous place’.
However, over 46% of head teachers believe fathers are no more protective that they’ve always been, while almost 5% said that fathers are less protective these days.
Opinion is divided on whether there are some issues that fathers tend to contact school about more than mothers. While half of respondents in the heads’ survey said there was no gender division in the topics parents approach their daughter’s school about, over a quarter disagreed, citing reasons such as ‘serious issues when the mother wants extra clout’, ‘finances’ and ‘if they feel there are any academic issues they are not pleased with, or if they feel their daughter is being unfairly treated.’
Over 50% of girls’ school heads have a small number of single dads among their parent base while over 45% per cent have an equally small number of pupils where both parents are involved but the father is the main guardian. One head said “we have two widowers and both are wonderful.” Another said “we have a growing number of house dads where mum is the main earner.”
Alun Jones, principal of St Gabriel’s girls’ school in Newbury and regular MyDaughter contributor said:
“Fathers have legitimate concerns about protecting their daughters in a world where young girls – and boys – are subject to all kinds of pressures through the media. These are real concerns and the occasional instance of misplaced worry is rare, though of course it does happen. Fathers have a vital role to play in their daughter’s upbringing and it’s good to see them taking such an active and equal interest in their academic progress.”
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