Boys close the gap on girls in key subjects
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Friday 19 August 2011
Boys have dramatically closed the performance gap between them and girls as a result of knuckling down to exams because of the recession, yesterday's A-level results show.
Exam boards officers said they had heeded calls to study subjects like maths and science to get ahead in the search for for jobs.
Figures show that girls are at level-pegging in the percentage of A* grades they have notched up – with 8.2 per cent being awarded the top grade pass. Last year girls were 0.4 per ahead of boys.
Andrew Hall, chief executive of the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, the country's biggest exam board, said boys had "recognised the challenge of A* grades" as a growing number of universities insisted on all candidates having at least one top grade pass.
Ziggy Liaquat, chief executive of Edexcel, added the boys' improvement was part and parcel of the rise in take-up of so called STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths - subjects crucial for the future of the economy).
"They're beginning to see that the global economy is crying out for people who have skills in science, engineering and maths," he said.
He added that the rise in take-up could also be down to the "Brian Cox effect" as a result of the popular TV programmes the University of Manchester physicist had hosted on science. The candidates who sat exams this year were those who chose their subject options at the start of the recession three years ago.
Figures show take-up of maths was up 7.4 per cent, with biology, chemistry and physics seeing rises of 7.2 per cent, 9.2 per cent and 6.1 per cent respectively.
The gap in performance between boys and girls at grade A in these subjects had reduced from 0.9 per cent to 0.3 per cent. At grade E it had narrowed from 0.9 per cent to 0.7 per cent.
Schools minister Nick Gibb said: "It is very welcome news that more students are studying the sciences and maths at A level.
"These are the subjects that universities and employers are demanding, so that they can compete internationally."
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn voters most likely to believe 'world is controlled by a secretive elite'
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 5 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
Negotiable: AER Teachers: Outstanding East London primary school seeking an Ea...
Negotiable: AER Teachers: Southwark primary School looking for teaching assist...
£24,451 - £27,061 per annum: Royal College of Music: The Royal College of Musi...
£35 - £45k DOE + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing / Optimisation Analyst is...