Boys still lag behind in GCSEs

Boys are falling further behind girls at GCSE because they "lack the maturity" to aim for top grades, it was suggested today.

National GCSE results have revealed a widening gender gap, especially at A* and A grade as boys struggle to keep up with their female classmates.



More than one in four (26.5%) of girls' entries were awarded an A or A* this summer, compared with 19.8% of boys' exams, according to data published by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ).



This is a gap of 6.7 percentage points - the widest it has been since the A* grade was introduced in 1994.



It is the opposite of A-levels, where last week's figures showed that boys are closing the gap in top grades.



The gender gap has also widened at A*-C for GCSE. This year 66% of boys' exams gained at least a C compared with 73.5% of girls', a difference of 7.5 percentage points. Last year the gap was 7.2%.



Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "At A-level, boys are clearly very focused on the grades they need for university entry.



"Boys will focus on a means to an end and they will therefore aim for the end, and we've seen an increase in that.



"At GCSE perhaps that sort of maturity that girls have at that stage is not quite there with the boys, and they can't see that obvious reason to aim for the A*."



Mr Lightman added that the increasing numbers of girls taking separate sciences at GCSE could be fuelling the gender gap.



"Girls were not opting for separate sciences as much a few years ago. There's now been a big increase in the confidence of girls to do more science, to specialise in science - the outcome of that is extremely positive, and they're getting top grades at the end of it."



Andrew Hall, chief executive of the AQA exam board, admitted he did not know why there was such a gap between boys and girls at GCSE level, saying: "We've scratched our heads over this.



"I think there's a good question for some social psychologists."



Around 650,000 teenagers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland received their GCSE results today in what was another record year for results.



The pass rate rose for the 23rd year in a row, with almost seven in 10 entries (69.8%) gaining at least a C grade.



And nearly one in four exams (23.2%) were awarded a coveted A or A*, up from 22.6% in 2010.



But while youngsters won plaudits for their grades, concerns were raised that the numbers of youngsters taking languages, history and geography have declined drastically.



Entries for French and German slumped again this year, as did those for Spanish - the first reported decrease for this language since 2006.



History entries are down around 2,700, and geography entries have slumped by a massive 13,800 in a year.



More students are taking separate science subjects at GCSE, and there has been a marked increase in religious studies entries.



Schools minister Nick Gibb said: "While it is encouraging to see the rising uptake in maths and single sciences, it is worrying that once again there are falling numbers studying languages."



Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "The fact that modern languages continue to decline is disappointing, especially taking into account our place in a global society and economy.



"This issue needs to be addressed in the Government's review of the national curriculum in order to reverse this extremely troubling trend."



PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Life and Style
food + drink
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his goal for Real Madrid against Juventus
football
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)
film
Life and Style
Great minds like Einstein don't think alike
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Guru Careers: Solutions Consultant

£30 - 40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Solutions Consultan...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Linux - Central London

£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Linux ...

Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power