Girls' behaviour: better GCSEs?

August 21, 2012, 10:22 AM GMT+0

51% kids aged 8-15 say girls outperform boys due to better behaviour, as charity launches campaign

Better behaviour enables girls to outperform boys in GCSEs, a poll of 538 schoolchildren aged 8 to 15 for global children’s charity Plan UK has revealed.

  • More than half (51%) of children aged 8-15 think girls in England and Wales get higher scores because they behave better in class
  • And nearly the same number (49%) said girls concentrate more in school, the new research from
  • More than three quarters (76%) of children believe getting good GCSE grades will help them get a job
  • Four out of five (80%) think their exam results will help them get a place at University
  • Half (50%) of children identified family problems as a reason why some kids don’t perform well at school
  • Only 17% of children think girls in England and Wales perform better than boys in GCSEs because they are cleverer
  • Half (50%) of British children aged 8 to 15 questioned realised that boys have more chance of going to class than girls in Africa

Plan UK chief executive Marie Staunton commented on the findings, which, she says, put into sharp relief the fact that many girls around the world don't have the chance to go to school.

"Girls traditionally beat their male peers in GCSE results in the UK, but many girls around the world simply don’t have the same opportunities," she says.

"75 million girls are out of school, when we know that educated girls are less likely to marry young and have children early, and are more likely to understand and realise their rights."

Plan UK highlights separate figures that show that each year, girls consistently out-perform boys in GCSEs in England and Wales, with 83% of girls getting five or more A*-C GCSEs last year, compared to 75% of boys.*

Girls as 'a force for change'

The charity explains that currently three out of four girls in Sub-Saharan Africa do not attend secondary school.

"With an education and the right support, girls can be a powerful force for change," says Ms Staunton.

"Studies have found that in developing countries an extra year of education increases a girl’s income by up to 20% and women reinvest more of their earnings into the household than men."

The poll was carried out in connection with the launch of Plan UK's new advert, created by Leo Burnett, which promotes girls’ education and champions their potential.

The new 'Choices for Girls' advert, which features an African schoolgirl, will be revealed at a special event at the Hackney Picture House on GCSE results day – August 23rd – before appearing on CNN.

The launch comes ahead of the very first UN International Day of the Girl on October 11th – the result of a long and hard campaign by Plan International.

See the survey details and full results here

* Source: 2011 GCSE results in England and Wales

Find out more on giving girls choices at the Plan UK page 'Choices for Girls' here