Perhaps there is a clue here: the latter covered a wide range of pupils, while this week's report focused on the "difficult years" of S1-S3. At a time when all the evidence points to girls surging academically and in career terms, perhaps we have taken our eye off the ball which suggests that some girls may be no different from boys. They can be bored by school and they may have impulsive and risk-taking personalities which the Edinburgh University report speculates may lead them to truant.
This is none the less potentially significant, not least because of the political and educational capital being expended on the drive to boost the two As - attendance and attainment. For once, the traditional researchers'
cry should be heeded: this demands more research.