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The Centre for Research in Early Childhood (CREC) are very pleased to announce the launch of the High-achieving, White Working Class (HAWWC) Boys project report, produced to provide practical evidence based resources to tackle the challenge of white working class male underachievement.

Developed with support from Birmingham, Oxfordshire and North Yorkshire Councils, this DfE funded project addresses thecrec policy question of how CREC might enhance the educational achievement of young, white working class boys (identified as boys growing up in low income households) in order to:

  • close the gap in their attainment on entry to compulsory schooling
  • improve access to the free early education offer
  • enable greater social mobility

CREC have worked with a carefully selected cohort of high-achieving, young, white working class boys (achieving an EYFS profile score above 38, placing them in the top 15% nationally), their families and early education settings, from three regionally selected urban, rural and coastal communities. They aimed to identify home and setting behaviours and interactions that can enable underachieving, less advantaged, young, white working class boys to experience more positive home learning experiences, access a quality free early education place and improve their attainment.

As part of the project, CREC have also created an online resource to assist with the wider dissemination of findings and training purposes. The online resource is split into three sections:

Information Sheets

A key outcome of the HAWWC Boys project was to develop a strategy to document and disseminate the knowledge gained, in a variety of formats and forums, to achieve maximum impact for underachieving white young boys.

The parent and practitioner information sheets make up part of CREC’s online resource, which aims to summarise and promote effective parenting and foundation stage practice for achieving school success and enhanced social mobility, for white working class boys. All 5 information sheets are available as interactive PDFs


Case Studies

The intention of the child and family case studies, the creation of which formed the first phase of this project, was to generate new knowledge about how to better support the achievement of white working class young boys, at home and in early years settings. The co-construction of the case studies was intended to be affirmative, empowering and developmental for the parents and young boys involved in the project, and to enhance the capacity for social mobility within the white working class communities in which they lived.

The 18 case studies make up part of CREC’s online resource, and reveal the complexity of family circumstances and dynamic nature of the inter-relationships between those elements of success, and how academic and parenting resilience is achieved in real lives.


Parent Video Blogs

The following set of films have been made available for training and knowledge transfer purposes as part of our HAWWC Boys Research online resource.

CREC have created a set of video blogs that feature white working class parents talking about their parenting practices and partnerships with early years practitioners.

Complexity in White Working Class/Low Income Families

Family Life and Stresses

Parents share their experiences of family life and the stresses and complexities that they encountered and overcame

Child Temperament and Capacities

Sociability and Emotional Responsiveness

Parents discuss their children’s capacity to make strong social and emotional connections with new people, and to respond easily to the social context in which they find themselves in

Attitudes and Dispositions

Parents discuss their sons’ characteristics, including their adaptability, curiosity, and resilience

Family Relationships and Attachments

Close Relationships and Attachments

Parents discuss their children’s relationships with other family members, and the effect that these close, positive relationships have had on the whole family

Family Support

Parents discuss the role played by the wider family in their son’s development

Parenting Approach and Routines

Parents discuss their parenting approaches and the family routines that they follow

Home Learning Environment

Attitudes to Learning

Parents discuss their attitude and approach to learning at home during their child’s early years

Home Learning: Outdoors and Physical Play

Parents discuss their child’s outdoor and physical play at home

Home Learning: Indoor Play

Parents discuss their child’s indoor play experiences at home

Home Learning Playmates

Parents their child’s social interactions with other children

Setting Strategies and Practices

Accessing Childcare and Early Education

Parents discuss access to childcare and early education

Relationship with Key Person

Parents discuss their child’s relationship with their key person at their early years setting, and how important that relationship was for their son

Parent Support and Advice

Parents discuss the support and advice they received

Community and Family Activities

Parents discuss how participation in community and family activities has helped to build and strengthen relationships for the boys, and the wider family

Children’s Learning Activities

Parents discuss the various learning activities their children encountered, and the learning environments experienced at their early years setting

Parent Partnerships in Children’s Learning

Early years practitioners discuss their involvement with high achieving white working class boys and their parents, and the impact and positive outcomes that they have seen as a result