Girls are outperforming boys in traditionally “masculine” subjects such as engineering and construction, despite repeated attempts to close the education gender gap, it emerged today.
New figures show teenage girls are more likely to achieve good grades in practical courses designed to lead straight to a job in traditionally male-dominated industries.
They were almost twice as likely to score highly in vocational qualifications sat between the age of 14 and 16, while results were around a third higher in courses sat in the sixth-form.
The disclosure – in data published by one of Britain’s biggest exam providers – comes amid continuing concerns over the gulf in standards between boys and girls.
According to figures, girls are already ahead in most disciplines by the age of five and the gap widens throughout compulsory education.
Last year, some 62 per cent of girls achieved five good GCSEs, compared with just 55 per cent of boys. Almost one-in-10 boys also failed to gain at least one C grade at the age of 16 – almost twice the failure rate of girls.
Boys have traditionally maintained their hold over girls in a number of more traditional practical disciplines. In 2011, maths was one of the few areas in which they gained better results, with boys more likely than girls to gain A* to C grades.
But a study by the publisher Pearson, which owns the Edexcel exam board, has found girls are now pulling ahead in other “male subjects”.
Researchers analysed results in work-based BTEC courses traditionally sat by pupils at schools and colleges between the age of 14 and 19. Pupils can take courses at Level 2, which is equivalent to GCSEs, and Level 3, which is similar to an A-level.
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