She Said Plan B
Students across Sussex and Surrey have been receiving their GCSE results this morning and it is another record year. We've got stats and there's reaction from Warden Park School in Cuckfield where our picture was taken
Boys are failing to catch up with girls at GCSE, despite another record year of results.
The pass rate rose for the 23rd year in a row, with almost seven in 10 entries (69.8%) gaining at least a C grade.
And nearly one in four exams (23.2%) were awarded a coveted A or A*, up from 22.6% in 2010.
But the national results, published by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), showed a widening gender gap, particularly at the top grades, as boys struggled to keep pace with girls.
One union leader suggested the difference was down to a ``lack of maturity'' among boys.
The results show that more than one in four (26.5%) of girls' entries were awarded an A or A* this summer, compared to 19.8% of boys' exams.
This is a gap of 6.7 percentage points - the widest it has been since the A* grade was introduced in 1994.
It is the opposite of A-levels, where last week's figures showed that boys are closing the gap in top grades.
The gender gap has also widened at A*-C for GCSE. This year 66% of boys' exams gained at least a C compared to 73.5% of girls', a difference of 7.5 percentage points. Last year the gap was 7.2%.
Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said: ``At A-level, boys are clearly very focused on the grades they need for university entry.
``Boys will focus on a means to an end and they will therefore aim for the end, and we've seen an increase in that.
``At GCSE perhaps that sort of maturity that girls have at that stage is not quite there with the boys, and they can't see that obvious reason to aim for the A*.''
Mr Lightman added that the increasing numbers of girls taking separate sciences at GCSE could be fuelling the gender gap.
``Girls were not opting for separate sciences as much a few years ago. There's now been a big increase in the confidence of girls to do more science, to specialise in science - the outcome of that is extremely positive, and they're getting top grades at the end of it.''
Andrew Hall, chief executive of the AQA exam board, admitted he did not know why there was such a gap between boys and girls at GCSE level, saying: ``We've scratched our heads over this.
``I think there's a good question for some social psychologists.''
The figures do show that boys are ahead in maths, with 16.6% gaining an A or A*, compared to 16.5% of girls.
Some 58.9% of boys gained a C or higher in maths, compared to 58.6% of girls.
Boys were also slightly ahead in additional maths and in physics, although in this subject only at grade C or above.
Listen to the reaction of Mums at Warden Park School in Warden Park and their thoughts on having to pay increased tuition fees and from Head Teacher, Steve Johnson