O-Level Examination Results

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th January 1988.

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Photo of Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock , Lewisham, Deptford 12:00 am, 19th January 1988

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will give the proportion for each year since 1979 of (a) girls and (b) boys taking O-level mathematics, craft, design and technology, and physics, who obtained grades A and B.

Photo of Mr Bob Dunn Mr Bob Dunn , Dartford

Over the period 1978–79 to 1985–86, the percentage of school leavers in England who had gained grades A-C in GCE O-level and grade 1 CSE has shown an increase in mathematics, craft design and technology and other science, and physics. Since 1978–79 more boys than girls have gained a higher grade in each of these subjects, but the proportion of those doing so has increased at a faster rate for girls than for boys. I shall publish the information asked for in the Official Report.

Photo of Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock , Lewisham, Deptford

I thank the Minister for that answer. I hope very much that he shares my concern that boys are still achieving more highly than girls in science and mathematics subjects. Given that there is evidence, in mixed schools particularly, that there is an apparent lack of interest in and aptitude for science in girls as compared with boys, and given that the national curriculum will make those subjects compulsory for all, what specific plans does the Minister have to ensure that interest in those subjects by girls is encouraged and to help teachers avoid the presentation of science as a masculine pursuit?

Photo of Mr Bob Dunn Mr Bob Dunn , Dartford

We have specifically asked the mathematics and science working groups that are advising on

School leavers, England
Percentage of leavers with a higher1 grade at O-level or CSE in
MathematicsPhysicsCDT and other science2
Academic yearBoysGirlsBoysGirlsBoysGirls
1981–8231 325·721·08·118·63·1
School Leavers Survey· Data subject to sampling error. The data exclude CSE-GCE achievements of young people at tertiary and other FE colleges.
1 Higher grades are 0-level grades A-C and CSE grade 1.
2 CDT and "other science" comprises: craft, design and technology; agriculture, horticulture or rural studies; technical drawing; building engineering plumbing; metalwork; woodwork; general science.