Alex Quigley

How to tackle the gender gap in schools

We’ve had plenty of ‘solutions’ to narrow the performance divide between boys and girls – but nothing has worked, writes Alex Quigley. Focusing on reading could be the answer

Two girls beating two boys at tug of war on a grassy hill - gender gap reading

The underperformance of boys in school has been much debated. We’ve had plenty of proposed solutions over the years, but nothing seems to have worked.

So, the gap remains: for example, in 2019, 10 per cent fewer 11-year-old boys than girls of the same age achieved the expected standard in reading, writing and maths combined in their key stage 2 Sats.

Part of the problem is that there are too few evidence-informed solutions that schools can utilise. Instead, a cottage industry of dubious “boy-friendly” solutions has found its way into our classrooms.

Boys aren’t working hard? Let’s ...

Subscribe to continue reading

Get full access to our magazine to keep up-to-date with the latest education research, insight and analysis – including audio articles and back issues

Other articles in this issue