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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 October 2005, 08:00 GMT 09:00 UK
Underachieving boys to get help
exam room
Boys are being encouraged to catch up with girls at GCSE
A pilot project to help teenage boys to improve their GCSE results is to be extended to more schools in England.

The scheme, piloted in 39 schools, uses mentoring, after-school classes and e-tutorials to encourage boys.

Boys' exam results have lagged behind girls - and this scheme has developed ways to raise the achievement of boys.

This "Breakthrough" programme has been developed in a joint project between the Department for Education and Skills and the NHS.

The pilot scheme, created by the National Primary Care Development Team (NPDT) and the DfES's innovation unit, has improved school results by up to 17%.

'Real Men Read'

The NPDT is part of the health service designed to create improvements in public services.

While girls' results at GCSE have risen, schools' overall results can be kept down by the lack of success of boys'.

This gender gap runs through primary and secondary school. Results in national tests for 11-year-olds, GCSEs and A-levels all show girls ahead.

Among the methods used by schools in the pilot project has been a "Book for Boys" section in libraries and the display of "boy-friendly" material. There was also a "Real Men Read" campaign.

There has also been a football-style five-a-side competition, where points are gained for punctuality and good behaviour.

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