Education Letter: Don't leave the boys out of it

Opinions on girls and science, literacy and numeracy tests, Chris Woodhead, the role of research, and falling academic standards
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The Independent Online
WITH REFERENCE to Professor Susan Greenfield's article ("Girls! Science is for all of you too", Education 4 February), I am actively involved in the Pupil Research Community and was at the preliminary meeting mentioned by the professor. The aim of the community is to provide all schoolchildren, irrespective of gender, with an opportunity to investigate science topics beyond the national curriculum, to broaden their scientific knowledge, and to share their present skills.

At the lower end of the ability range, Prof Greenfield's comments, while valid, are hardly helpful if they result in gender stereotyping of boys, whose low aspirations are really triggered by the inequalities of poverty. Boys of high ability are linguistically as competent over the Internet as girls: were this not the case, our year 10 team members would hardly be in business on their own account writing websites commercially, aged 15.

However, I feel that students who are entering this project are mature enough to work and communicate equally well, and I am sure this will be shown at the conference in July.

JON RAINFORD

Aylesbury Grammar School

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