How parents of GCSE and A-Level aged sons can help them catch up with the girls

Boys and girls during maths

Boys are being outclassed by girls at both school and university, and the gap is widening. Read what Claire Meadows-Smith of The Community Schools has learned in helping over 150 students prepare for exam success

I’ve long been a supporter of helping girls do better in school, particularly in Maths (as this interview with the East Anglian Daily Times shows).

But there’s something I think parents of teenage boys should know… The Economist revealed a scary and surprising fact recently.

In an article titled “The weaker sex”, the writer shared statistics from a recent OECD study.

“Teenage boys are 50% more likely than girls to fail to achieve basic proficiency in any of maths, reading and science.”

What’s more, “youngsters in this group, with nothing to build on or shine at, are prone to drop out of school altogether.”

Why are boys performing worse than girls at school?

The answer is surprisingly simple.

The same OECD study revealed that “the average 15-year-old girl devotes five-and-a-half hours a week to homework, an hour more than the average boy, who spends more time playing video games and trawling the internet.”

To make matters worse, three-quarters of girls read for pleasure, compared with little more than half of boys.

Are girls simply smarter than boys?

Well, despite other gaps in effort – boys turn up late more often – the OECD found that when boys study just one hour extra per week, they reduced the gender gap by 25%.

That’s why the OECD is encouraging parents to steer teenage boys to a different way of thinking where academic achievement is respected.

The truth is, boys already have a tougher time getting the grades they deserve…

“The OECD found that boys did much better in its anonymised tests than in teacher assessments. The gap with girls in reading was a third smaller, and the gap in maths—where boys were already ahead—opened up further. In another finding that suggests a lack of even-handedness among teachers, boys are more likely than girls to be forced to repeat a year, even when they are of equal ability.”

Why is this?

Stephan Vincent-Lancrin of the OECD, published a report in 2008 remarking that when they discovered the extent of feminisation in higher education “they couldn’t believe it.”

The problem for teenage boys is that these troubles don’t end at school. women who go on to university are more likely to graduate than men – and more likely to get better grades.

As a teacher and tutor, none of what The OECD and The Economist says surprises me. Boys really are being left behind the girls.

In fact, it’s become quite the culture.

Of our 158 current students at The Community Schools, 96 are girl and only 62 are boys.

It’s the boys that need the most help, yet even outside regular school hours the girls are extending their advantage.

If you have a teenage son, perhaps you’re wondering what you can do to help?

How you as a parent can help your teenage son

Have you considered extra tutoring in Maths, English, and Science?

As the OECD study shows, even just one extra hour of study at home per week closes the gap on average by 25%. Imagine what 75 minutes of professional, dedicated study would do.

The Community Schools employ 22 experienced tutors who specialise in helping GCSE and A-level students get exam success in Maths, English, and Science.

About The Community Schools’ Private Tutoring Classes

The weekly 75 min tuition sessions at the Community Schools are very supportive of each student as an individual. There is the flexibility to teach each student in a way that best suits them and at a pace that suits.

Students are encouraged to ask as many questions as many times as it takes for them to fully grasp the new concept.

The positive and supportive atmosphere of our sessions enables all student successes to be celebrated. There is no problem about perceived ‘coolness’.

There are immediate classes available in Bury St. Edmunds and Kesgrave.

  • The teaching is structured around each student’s needs
  • No “death by worksheet” or “over-reliance” on software
  • Courses are practical, fun and effective
  • Designed to build up student’s understanding & increase their confidence
  • A focus on improving comprehension skills
  • It will be delivered in blocks of 11 sessions
  • Each session lasts 75mins

For more information, or to book a spot on a course, why not apply online now?

Click here to apply…

If you’d prefer to call first, you can call Claire on 07747 037441. Why not do it now before something else gets in the way?

We also have ‘Grade Booster’ courses available during the holidays. For more information, you can email me at or, call me on 07747 037441.

Last Updated on December 7, 2021

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