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‘I don’t like feeling my children would do better outside of Norfolk’ - pledge to close school gap between boys and girls

PUBLISHED: 15:22 20 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:22 20 January 2020

Boys are lagging behind girls in Norfolk's schools. Pic: David Davies/PA.

Boys are lagging behind girls in Norfolk's schools. Pic: David Davies/PA.

A “concerted campaign” will attempt to close the gap between how well boys perform compare to girls in Norfolk’s schools, councillors have pledged.

Independent Norfolk county councillor Sandra Squire. Pic: Norfolk Independent Group.Independent Norfolk county councillor Sandra Squire. Pic: Norfolk Independent Group.

And, with the educational attainment of boys in the county below the national average at the end of primary school, one county councillor admitted she has questioned whether her own sons would fare better if they were educated outside of Norfolk.

Sandra Squire, leader of the independent group at Norfolk County Council, tabled a motion on the issue at a meeting of the county council on Monday.

Seconded by Liberal Democrat group leader Ed Maxfield, it called for the council to investigate the disparity in attainment for boys, compared to girls at Key Stage 2.

The percentage of children meeting expected standards in all three subjects of reading, writing and mathematics at the end of primary school was 59pc in 2019, the same as in 2018.

That was below the 65pc national average and there were disparities between boys and girls.

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In reading, writing and mathematics, 54pc of boys hit expected standards, below the 60pc national average.

Girls fared better, with 64pc hitting expected standards, but still less than the 70pc of girls nationally.

Ms Squire said Norfolk ranked 144th out of 152 local authorities at Key Stage 2 in 2018, putting Norfolk in the lowest 6pc of all local authorities.

She said: "The education attainment gap between boys and girls is not unique to Norfolk, it's not even unique to this country. However, this does not mean we can sit back and say it's just one of those things.

Independent councillor Mick Castle said if it was any group other than white, working class boys in disadvantaged areas which were underachieving, more priority would have been given into addressing it.

The motion was amended by the Conservatives, to call for a concerted campaign to close the gender gap by the end of reception year and was unanimously agreed.

Ms Squire said: "Children need this. We need to look at our education results across the board. It's not good enough.

"As a parent, I don't like feeling my children would do better outside of Norfolk and that's what it comes down to. These children deserve better."


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