First School Test for Five-Year-Olds Reveals Girls Are Ahead of Boys

Article excerpt

Byline: TIM MILES

THE education gender gap exists even in the first two years of primary school, according to the first national statistics on the achievement of fiveyearolds, published today.

It shows that girls are ahead of boys by the age of five in the beginnings of literacy and numeracy and in social and emotional development.

The results also show that as many as one in five children have failed to pass the first milestones in their education - such as sounding out the alphabet - by the age of five.

But as the first national results were published of the Foundation Stage Profile, a new row emerged over the demands it places on schools, and the reliability of the statistics.

The Department for Education and Skills acknowledged that the results should be treated "with caution" and that some of the data was of "poor quality and completeness". Teachers' leaders said that given the severity of the Government's own warning, it was "astonishing" that the statistics had been published at all.

The information released today reflects assessments carried out by teachers across the country last year on the development of four and five-year-olds in their first two years at school.

Teachers are required to assess children in six areas of development: personal, social and emotional; communication, language and literacy; mathematics; knowledge and understanding of the world; physical development; creative development. …