Boy zone books

THERE is heartening evidence now that some of the resourcefulness being invested in improving the attainment of boys is beginning to pay off. Perhaps one of the most unusual efforts (page three) is the success reported by Angus in getting more boys into libraries, and into the reading habit, by using thumbprint technology. Boys and gadgets - it must be a winning combination.

We also report on page four that boys are at least holding their own at the most demanding levels of study, the Advanced Higher in Scotland and the Advanced extension awards in England. But, given the pre-eminence of girls at Standard grade, GCSE, Higher and A-level, it is far too early to be confident about whether we are witnessing any turnaround of significance.

Much more has to be done. We need more information: are boys innately better at aptitude and intelligence tests and do girls excel at exams that reward application? We also need to subject the curriculum to some searching questions: would the initiative being promoted today (Friday) by the SNP's Michael Russell liberate boys by giving them a stronger motivating experience out of school and therefore boost their attainment?

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