No hyping here

22nd September 2000 at 01:00
BOYS' under-achievement is one of the biggest problems we must address in education, according to a government minister.

The general secretary of the Association of Education Psychologists calls for boys and girls in mixed schools to be taught separately.

The head of the exam boards says the rise in the A-level results is entirely down to the improvements made by girls.

Yet, Mike Baker (TES, September 8) would have your readers believe that The Mirror is to blame for hyping the gender gap because we were tired of writing the same old story of "pass rate up, standards down".

If he had ever bothered to read The Mirror, he would realise we had never supported the "pass rate up, standards down" iew so beloved of our right-wing press.

We have written leaders urging our readers to ignore those who espouse that theory in favour of praising the pupils and teachers who have brought the increase in standards about.

We agree with John Dunford, of the Secondary Heads Association, who told BBC Radio 4 listeners that just over 40 years ago only one man in the world could run a mile in under four minutes, yet now every serious miler can. So why did so many people believe that couldn't happen in education?

It may suit Mike Baker as a BBC correspondent to encourage the belief that all journalists write the same thing. We don't.

Richard Garner

Education correspondent, The Mirror

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