Italian and, Yes, Metalwork Are the Only Subjects Where Boys Beat Girls in the Junior Certs; Proud: Rebekah Hughes and Harriet Meagher, of Loreto College, St Stephen's Green, Celebrate Squeal of Joy: Jemma Browne

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GIRLS outstripped boys in almost every subject in this year's JuniorCert exam results.

Of the 26 subjects at higher level, schoolgirls outscored their malecounterparts in all but two - Italian and that old bastion of the boys,metalwork.

Last night teachers' unions warned that the increasing divide between boys andgirls remains worryingly high.

Patricia Wroe, President of the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland,called for the Minister for Education Mary Hanafin to address the gender gap inclassroom attainment.

Blaming the shortage of male teachers to act as role models for boys, she saidsomething had to be done to lure more young graduates into the teachingprofession.

'It is not hard to see why young men are going off and pursuing careers in lawand accounting after college and every other area when we are screaming out forthem to become teachers,' she said.

'After three or four years of being trained an accountant, they have ateacher's salary of a lifetime. More needs to be done to bring male teachers tothe classroom.' She also blamed the widespread use of computer games by boys aswell as their urge to be active as early teenagers for their declining schoolreports.

The results showed that 5 per cent more girls than boys secured top marks inboth Irish and English honours level paper and 13 per cent more secured honoursin Art, Craft and Design.

The gap was just as striking across a range of A grades in other subjects. Thedivide in favour of girls included Home Economics (10 per cent), Science (3 percent), Religious Education (7 per cent), German (8 per cent) and History (7 percent).

Boys achieved more A grades than girls in only Italian (5 per cent) andMetalwork (4 per cent).

A similar gap is evident at ordinary level, where girls outscore boys in mostsubjects.

However more boys failed ordinary level Irish (4 per cent), Classical Studies(11 per cent) and French (5 per cent).

Even in the traditional 'boys' toys' subject - Material Technology - the girlsare doing fractionally better with one per cent more A's. …