Blunkett bids to boost boys' learning

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The Independent Online

Education Secretary David Blunkett has launched a new scheme to stop boys falling behind girls in the classroom.

Education Secretary David Blunkett has launched a new scheme to stop boys falling behind girls in the classroom.

All local education authorities in England and Wales will have to produce progress reports setting out what they are doing to tackle boys' under-achievement.

It follows an instruction issued to local education authorities in 1998 that proposals to close the gender gap in schools must be included in their education development plans.

Concerns about the declining performance of boys in examinations were thrown into sharp relief by last week's A-level results when girls out-performed them for the first time in the exam's 49-year history.

Ministers have been increasingly worried that a macho, anti-authoritarian culture of "laddism" among teenage boys is affecting their studies, with schoolwork regarded as "uncool".

Officials dismissed reports that the scheme would mark a return to single sex teaching in core subjects such as English and mathematics.

A DFEE spokesman said Mr Blunkett would be asking the schools inspection service Ofsted, headed by Chris Woodhead, to gather evidence on how well the new measures were working.

"We will pin down what works and ensure schools and education authorities have the ammunition to turn around boys' academic performance," Mr Blunkett was expected to say.

"We are already working with head teachers to see how best we can help schools and education authorities to boost attainment and have commissioned research to identify successful strategies."

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