Girls a Class Apart; GROWING EDUCATION GAP BETWEEN SEXES AS BOYS STILL CONSIDER SWOTTING TO BE SISSY

Daily Mail (London), July 31, 1996 | Go to article overview
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Girls a Class Apart; GROWING EDUCATION GAP BETWEEN SEXES AS BOYS STILL CONSIDER SWOTTING TO BE SISSY


Byline: GAVIN MADELEY

MOST women will argue that they have known the truth of the matter for some time but now they have the proof in vital statistics - girls are taking their education more seriously than boys.

Girls are more likely to stay on at sixth-year level and they achieve more too, according to the latest Scottish Office figures on school leavers, which also reveal an overall rise in the total number of pupils opting for a sixth year.

Yesterday a university expert said the differences between the sexes would last well into the next century. `I'm sorry to use such terrible stereotypes,' added Dr Linda Croxford of Edinburgh University, `but until boys stop thinking that swotting is sissy and that they must go out and play football instead of doing their homework, they are on a hiding to nothing.

`The days when boys could walk into an apprenticeship with a big firm who would give them a training are gone and, without proper qualifications, they are staring long-term unemployment in the face.'

The Scottish Office figures reveal that just under 62,000 pupils left school in 1994-95 with 30 per cent quitting at the leaving age of 16, compared with 47 per cent ten years ago.

While more than a third of boys of school-leaving age turned their backs on the classroom, only 26 per cent of girls decided they had had enough of lessons.

Last year, 34 per cent of girls scored three or more Higher passes compared with only 25 per cent of boys.

The size of the sixth-year population in state secondary schools has doubled in the last decade from 21 per cent in 1984-85 to 43 per cent in 1995-96.

The number of pupils who left with no qualifications fell dramatically from 25 per cent ten years ago to 8 per cent last year and school leavers holding three or more Higher passes rose to 29 per cent from 21 per cent in 1984-85.

Around 64 per cent of leavers in 1994-95 held three or more Standard Grades compared with only 50 ten years ago.

The study gap opening up between boys and girls is concerning Fred Forrester, depute general secretary of the Educational Institute for Scotland, and he yesterday called for proper research to investigate why more boys are reluctant to study longer.

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