There is a popular perception that girls' academic success means that they have taken up the kinds of gender performances in the classroom previously associated with boys. However, research into classrooms show that, amongst even the highest achieving pupils, girls are anxious about doing well and concerned about their relationships with other pupils. This paper offers an explanation as to how gendered classroom expectations and performances of girls have been translated from ofailureo to ovictoryo without any actual change in behaviours. The explanation for this is located in education policy and gender theory but the discussion here focuses attention on the implications of these for schools, classroom practices and teachers. The reason for doing so is a concern that feminist writing should engage more closely with the daily lives of teachers.