chapter  1
'Boys' underachievement'
The evidence
Pages 22

This chapter aims to demonstrate that a high level of continuity exists between the differences in achievements between boys and girls and those found through successive key stages and onto GCSEs. It looks at gender differences in GCSE examination results in order to identify the major trends and patterns that exist at the end of compulsory schooling. With these trends and patterns in mind, the chapter 'work backwards' through each key stage to show how they all have their origins in the early years. It focuses on the national evidence available to illustrate the nature and extent of the differences that exist between. In examining the actual nature of the evidence, it is useful to use the measure of GCSE performance that encouraged the headlines and reactions­ that is the proportions of boys and girls gaining five or more GCSEs grades or their equivalent.