Close gender gap to improve our world ranking

7th January 2011 at 00:00

Amid the almost inevitable wailing and gnashing of teeth about the UK's relative performance in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Pisa education league tables, may I offer a modest proposal?

If we educators concentrate on closing the 21-point gap between the mean maths score of our 15-year-old girls and the average boys' score, would we not be celebrating the UK's above-average overall performance in that subject, instead of lamenting a below-average one?

Looking at the scores, it seems that many of those countries scoring highest have much lower gender gaps.

Girls' schools like ours have a real role to play in this: in schools where there are no stereotypically "male" or "female" subjects, girls are much more motivated to do their best in every subject.

Helen Fraser, chief executive, The Girls' Day School Trust.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today