Gap closed in a year

9th January 1998 at 00:00
Teachers at St Thomas More RC school in Tameside set out to tackle the underachievement of boys three years ago, at a time when girls had leapt 20 percentage points ahead of their male classmates in terms of GCSE success rates, writes Dorothy Lepkowska.

Within a year the boys had caught up. Some 50 per cent achieved five or more A* to C grades in 1996 - exactly the same as the girls - up from 33 per cent in 1995.

Mary Lawrence, the headteacher, said it was clear that boys and girls had different attitudes towards learning and it was from this starting point that the school began to reverse the fortunes of boys.

Teachers had also noticed an "anti-education sub-culture" emerging among boys in Year 8.

Detailed monitoring was done of each pupil's progress to ensure that teachers were aware of every boy's potential. At key stage 4 individual interviews were held with pupils, and targets set.

Five boys in every form in Years 10 and 11 - some 40 pupils in all - were targeted for special attention in class. Teachers kept a stricter eye on their work, praised them when they did well and kept them involved and motivated in lessons.

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