Public interest in the ways that boys and girls respond to schooling has been a feature of the (English) educational system at least since the period of the Taunton Commission’s (1868) work on endowed schools. At that time there were some 840 ‘endowed schools’, the great majority of which (820) applied their endowments solely towards the education of boys. One of the recommendations of the Commission, taken up in the Endowed Schools Act, sought to broaden educational provision by interpreting bequests for the education of ‘children’ as referring equally to girls as to boys. The response to the Act was not wholeheartedly positive, however, and when political direction changed shortly thereafter, responsibility for implementing the Act was downgraded to the Charity Commissioners which effectively emasculated the more radical, interventionist, thrust that had been intended.