African-Caribbean children perform poorly at school because doing well is perceived as ‘gay’ or ‘feminine’, the head of the Jamaican Teachers Association has said.

Adolph Cameron said boys are more interested in “hustle culture” than academic success and that the issue is affecting children in both England and Jamaica.

Mr Cameron told BBC News: “That notion of masculinity says that if as a male you aspire to perform highly it means you are feminine, even to the extent of saying you are gay.

“But in the context of Jamaica, which is so homophobic, male students don’t want to be categorised in that way so that they would deliberately underperform in order that they are not.”

African-Caribbean boys are one of the poorest-performing groups in British schools. Last year, 40 per cent attained five good GCSEs including English and maths, compared with the national average of 58.5 per cent.

Speaking at a lecture in Bristol aimed at promoting academic success among young black men, Mr Cameron blamed traditional notions of masculinity.

According to BBC News, he said: “Education … takes second place to notions of entrepreneurship as, predominantly our young men, get involved in the informality of what University of the West Indies academics have called a ‘hustle culture’.”

He added: “I would not be surprised if here in England the same or similar things occur in terms of how they feel about themselves and how the respond to and with respect to the society around them.

“Boys are more interested in hustling, which is a quick way of making a living, rather than making the commitment to study. This is a supposed to be a street thing which is a male thing.

“The influence of this attitude towards masculinity seems to be having a tremendous impact on how well African-Caribbean and Jamaican males do.

“There’s a fear of being categorised as gay in a society where homophobia is so strong.”