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Book of the week: Girls and Exclusion

Girls and Exclusion: rethinking the agenda By Audrey Osler and Kerry Vincent RoutledgeFalmer pound;70 hbk, pound;19.99 pbk

As head of a school that is serious about educational inclusion, I found this book relevant and to the point, addressing many of the issues we face daily. Audrey Osler and Kerry Vincent challenge the perception that because boys are "underperforming" in public examinations, girls are "doing well" at school, pointing out that the gender gap in achievement is far smaller than gaps associated with ethnic origin and social class. Ironically, too, girls' achievements are seen in a negative context.

Boys' underachievement has become the focus of government and government-driven school improvement strategies, reinforced by inspection processes and league table emphases, even though girls still do less well in career options, whatever their academic achievement. Osler and Vincent redefine exclusion, showing that while girls are less likely to be formally excluded, they have ways of excluding themselves from educational opportunity.

Read more in this week's TES Friday magazine

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