Karl calls for Government action to end the gender education gap

  • Boys behind at all levels of education
  • Gender education gap ignored for far too long
  • Same focus and action needed as on equality issues affecting women and girls
  • “This is a One Nation issue” and “affects our ability to compete in a post-Brexit global economy”
  • Westminster Hall debate (Tuesday 6 September 4.30pm)

In leading a Parliamentary debate on Tuesday 6 September1 on boys’ underperformance and the gender education gap, Karl McCartney MP will call upon the Government and the education sector to give the same level of focus and action as it has done on equality issues affecting women and girls.

Karl views closing this gap, which started thirty years ago, as a One Nation, fairness and equality issue and by continuing to fail to address it means continuing its negative effect on boys, their families, communities, business and the whole Country. 

The existence of the gender education gap can be seen throughout the education system at Key Stage 2 (11 year olds), GCSEs, A-levels and Degrees (see notes to editors for statistics). In Lincolnshire (2013/14), 59.8% of boys achieved 5 GCSEs (A*-C) as did 70% girls.

Its impact can be seen by fewer boys than girls taking up Apprenticeships (30,000), going to university (60,000 per year, 460,000 over ten years) and entering the majority of ‘professions’. There are 65,000 more unemployed male NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) and men in their mid-twenties on average now earn less per hour than women in full or part-time roles.

In his speech, Karl will call upon the Government to set up an Implementation Taskforce to urgently devise and implement policies that work to close the gender education gap, without adversely affecting the educational performance of girls. 

He believes the Government must give this issue the same focus, leadership and action as it has done in trying to closing the gender pay gap, increase the number of women on FTSE-100 Boards and encouraging women to study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects.

He also calls upon the education sector including Ofsted and individual schools to ensure they are boy-friendly in how they teach and ensure they have a better understanding of what makes boys tick. There is a need for far more positive action in male teacher recruitment, the introduction of long-term Apprenticeships and more encouragement and support for parents from no or low incomes.

Karl McCartney JP MP, Lincoln’s Member of Parliament, said: “There is now an urgent need in this Country to tackle the underperformance of boys in our education system and close the gender education gap that started over 30 years ago. 

“This is a One Nation issue affecting boys from all parts of the United Kingdom and from all backgrounds, not just working class boys. It has a negative impact on the boys themselves and also their families, communities, businesses and the ability of this Country to compete in a post-Brexit global economy. We all have a stake in this.

“Governments of all colours have not done enough to acknowledge this issue let alone tackle it and the education sector itself has systematically failed to address it. If the genders were reversed, I am almost certain there would not be this lack of focus and attention.

“The time now is for concrete action, not more words. We cannot keep letting more generations of boys down and fall behind.”

- ENDS –