GCSE results in Damp;T show that from A* to C, girls outperform boys by 17 percentage points. This is a much wider gap than in most other subjects.
The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority believes it is essential that all teachers continually examine their teaching methods. To support this, we are working with five teachers from key stages 1 to 3 to develop new units for the National Curriculum in Action website, to be published later this month. the QCAhopes to help teachers build up pupil strengths and enhance performance at KS4.
The QCA team, working with David Spendlove of Liverpool John Moores University, presented advice on current initiatives and support material to the project teachers at a development day last year. They were then asked to re-evaluate their current teaching methods.
They will now take part in a pilot project that will form the basis of the new units. They will, of course, pay attention to the performance of the whole of their teaching group and note where the strategy also supports the performance of girls: it is important that improvement in the performance of boys is not at the expense of girls. Some design and technology departments, however, have been successful in recognising boys' strengths, for example in modelling or energy.
The eventual exemplification will be presented in the same format as the existing design and technology units on the National Curriculum in Action website.
National Curriculum in Action www.ncaction.org.uk
Ian Williams is QCA principal officer for design and technology