Girls beat boys by record margin – because they're more mature

 

The biggest gender gap yet in GCSE performance opened up with the announcement of the results for 650,000 students yesterday. Girls were 6.7 percentage points ahead at A* and A grade with more than one in four (26.5 per cent) registering a top grade pass – the largest gap since the A* was introduced in 1994.

The trend was in stark contrast to A-level results that showed boys closing the gender gap and registering just as many A* passes as girls.

However, Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the gap could be down to a "lack of maturity" on the part of boys who only knuckle down to learning once a university place is in sight.

The girls' stellar performance coincided with a big rise in the take-up of sciences – physics up 16.4 per cent, chemistry 15.2 per cent and biology 14.2 per cent. According to Andrew Hall, chief executive of the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance – Britain's biggest exam board – girls were now becoming "confident" in their ability to tackle the sciences.

Overall, the results showed a marginal increase in the pass rate – up 0.1 percentage points to 98.8 per cent. The percentage of A* to C grades went up – but only by 0.8 per cent compared with 2 percentage points last year. The figure now stands at 69.8 per cent. At A*/A grade, it went up by 0.6 percentage points to 23.2 per cent.

This year saw a reduction in the number of candidates sitting GCSEs – the number of scripts was down by 4.2 per cent, compared with a drop of just 2.6 per cent in the age cohort.

This is being attributed by exam boards to a combination of schools choosing alternative exams – such as the IGCSE, based on the traditional O-level, and teachers putting pupils in for fewer subject to avoid cramming them with too many exams.

In addition, growing numbers – particularly in English – were sitting exams early, partly as an attempt by schools to give themselves a better chance of securing a good league table position.

Religious studies showed the biggest percentage increase – going up by 17.6 per cent to 221, 000, confounding critics who suggested some schools might switch pupils from it in the middle of their studies since it did not count towards the English baccalaureate.

The decline in modern-languages provision continued, so that only one in four pupils now studies French at GCSE. For German, the figure is fewer than one in 10. The gap in performance between state and independent schools remained wide – although private schools accounted this year for 17.7 per cent of all A* grades compared with 17.8 per cent last year. They represented just 8 per cent of the candidates.

There were concerns that successful GCSE candidates could be put off further study as a result of the Government's decision to axe the educational maintenance allowance.

"Many students will find it difficult to continue in education despite having the grades and potential to do so," said Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers. However, ministers argue they are targeting funding at the most needy students. The poorest 12,000 students will receive £1,200 a year under their plans.

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
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

Senior Research Fellow in Gender, Food and Resilient Communities

£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: The Centre for Agroecology, ...

Senior Research Fellow in Water and Resilient communities

£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: Our team of leading academic...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£60 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Special Needs Teaching Assistants...

Teaching Assistants in Peterborough

£50 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Cambridge: Teaching assistants required ...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker