University gender gap growing, warns admissions chief

Our thanks to Kevin for this. We covered the topic of education in our general election manifesto (pp 15-17).

The start of the article:

A worrying gender gap has emerged in higher education, with girls dominating admissions to leading universities, the head of the admissions service has warned.

Urgent action is needed to boost the number of boys applying to university to stop them becoming a “disadvantaged” minority, according to Mary Curnock Cook, the Ucas chief executive.

Young women are on average a third more likely to progress to higher education, Ucas statistics show. In some parts of the country, that number increases to 50 per cent.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Ms Curnock Cook said: “It means there is something like 32,000 young men missing from university.”

Her comments come just days before hundreds of thousands of teenagers are due to collect their A-level results on Thursday this week. Competition for places at top universities is expected to be especially fierce this year, with record numbers of applicants to Oxford, Cambridge and other top 10 institutions.

Ms Curnock Cook called for a “laser focus” on the issue of fewer boys going to university than girls.

She said: “My concern is in five or ten years’ time young men will be the new disadvantaged group. I remain astounded that there is not more political and societal focus on this.”

Let’s focus on the final sentence. Ms Curnock Cook remains ‘astounded that there is not more political and societal focus on this’. Really? Either she’s lying, or she’s utterly ignorant about something she should be deeply knowledgeable about – the politically-inspired cause of the academic under-performance of boys, who’ve been disadvantaged relative to girls since the replacement of O Levels by GCSEs in 1987/8, and William Collins published a remarkable blog piece on the matter – here.

We wrote a letter (with a FoI request) to Nicky Morgan, Education Secretary (and Minister for Women and Equalities, importantly in this context) – here – and we received a cynically evasive response – here. It contained this paragraph:

The Department does not fund any initiatives that just focus on addressing boys’ under-achievement. The Government’s education reforms are designed to ensure that all children, whatever their gender, have the opportunity to attain well at school.

The under-achievement of boys in education over the past 30 years has been the direct and inevitable consequence of the education system. The current Conservative government is as guilty as its predecessors in driving this anti-male and anti-meritocratic social engineering initiative.

About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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  • weren’t gentlemen supposed to ensure ladies got preferential treatment ?
    I suppose it is a job well done then…. if you want to continue to play the gentlemen in the 21st. century,this is what you get.. Please, do not censor this,because it is the plain truth.

  • Ms. Curnock Cook has set a challenge to find 32,000 missing young men. I hope J4MB can use this, with others to get the “laser” focus on this missing men that she rightly bemoans. From your FOI it appears not even a Christmas cracker torch is being deployed now.

    • Indeed. Who, precisely, does she envisage employing that ‘laser focus’? What an utterly pathetic comment.

      • Mike, is it not the case that boys still out perform girls on standardized testing, but their marks are brought down by coursework. Their is now some evidence to suggest that female teachers are lowering boys grades and pushing up girls grades. There is no under achievement of boys in school, rather, it is a rigged system. To tell hormonal boys to sit through hours each day of school doing coursework is a nonsense and I suspect they knew what they were doing when they ramped up the coursework culture. And don’t get me started on the feminization of the school curriculum. Are you aware that boys still outperform girls on standardized testing, and have you seen the reports that show female teacher bias?

        Keep up the good work!

  • It is clear we are in the process of reproducing the situation in the US with far too few domestic STEM students being just one important side effect of a lack of attention on this core question. where are 32,000 young men each year when we have a growing skills shortage?

  • ng162gz

    This was covered this morning on the BBC News Papers. After laying out the facts about boys under preforming and the report proving girls are smarter than boys, the presenters then went on about how great it was to see women dominating the university populations but that more work needs to be done to get women in STEMs and higher management.

    Even by the BBC’s usual standard I stood jaw dropped. Started to pen a complaint but with a mindset like that its farting against thunder.

  • lightstrider

    Strange that the title in that article is about the gender gap, but more than half the article is about the gap between middle class and lower income students.

  • William Gruff

    She said: “My concern is in five or ten years’ time young men will be the new disadvantaged group.

    When have young men, and older ones too, not been disadvantaged in comparison to women, and when has the comparative disadvantage ever been acknowledged?