It’s the cliched newspaper image of examination success – three ladies smiling incredulously or leaping for pleasure at how effectively they’ve performed.
However like all good cliches, there’s greater than a grain of reality in these typical snapshots of A-level outcomes day.
Ladies do higher than boys at A-levels (or Highers in Scotland), and certainly at each stage of schooling.
So, with A-level grades the primary for college, it’s hardly stunning that ladies at the moment are much more possible than males to go there.
This yr practically 80% of women’ entries had been graded A* to C, in contrast with 75% of boys.
And in response to this yr’s college utility figures, the distinction in utility charges between women and men throughout the UK is the widest on file.
In England, younger ladies are 36% extra prone to apply than younger males.
The gender hole in purposes can also be at its best ever in Scotland and Wales, whereas in Northern Eire there’s the biggest hole since 2009.
Mary Curnock Prepare dinner, chief government of the College and School Admissions Service, is so involved for the way forward for boys that she needs to see a concerted nationwide effort to sort out the problem.
If present tendencies proceed, she says, inside a decade the hole between wealthy and poor at college entrance will likely be “eclipsed by the hole between men and women”.
Moreover, she predicts: “If this differential progress carries on unchecked, then ladies born this yr will likely be 75% extra prone to go to school than their male friends.”
So what’s on the root of this hole?
Are ladies merely academically higher as of late, and boys much less bold?
Or is one thing extra difficult taking place?
By the point youngsters get to sixth kind, ladies are already considerably outnumbering boys, not to mention outperforming them.
That could be a results of their higher outcomes at GCSEs.
Some 55% of pupils taking A-level customary had been feminine in 2015, in comparison with 45% of boys.
So earlier than they sit a single examination, there are probably extra ladies than boys who’re prone to go to school.
‘Waste of time?’
As soon as the exams are performed and dusted, they have a tendency to get higher outcomes.
The typical A-level grade for a lady is C+ in comparison with C for a boy.
However the variations between girls and boys begin a lot earlier on.
In keeping with a College of Bristol research, boys are practically twice as possible as ladies to have fallen behind by the point they begin faculty.
The analysis discovered 80,000 boys in England began in a reception class struggling to talk a full sentence or observe directions and, worryingly, many of those youngsters won’t ever catch up.
Add to this the truth that main colleges are usually dominated by feminine academics, and moms serving to out, and the jigsaw of male underachievement doesn’t look fairly so puzzling.
In keeping with analysis into boys’ underachievement for the Greater Training Coverage Institute, ladies and boys typically have totally different cultural attitudes in the direction of faculty work.
The report by its director Nick Hillman, quoting OECD analysis, says: “Boys are eight proportion factors extra possible than ladies to treat faculty as a waste of time.”
And throughout OECD international locations boys are likely to spend over one hour much less per week on homework than ladies, he provides.
Boys usually tend to play pc video games and fewer prone to learn outdoors of college, he says in his paper.
This sense that boys should not so eager to use themselves academically is backed up by the previous head instructor of Sydney Russell Faculty in Dagenham, Roger Leighton.
“There’s a contact of boys having a larger tendency to assume they will get away with minimal work and eager to spend their time doing different ‘extra attention-grabbing issues’,” he says.
“Ladies, then again, have a tendency to grasp the necessity to knuckle down earlier on – they take an extended view.”
There are another adjustments within the nature of universities which have led to the dominance of girls on campus.
The conversion of the previous polytechnics to universities within the 1990s introduced an enormous swathe of feminine college students into the college fold.
And as Mr Hillman remarks: “Expert careers historically chosen by ladies, akin to nursing and educating, didn’t demand full levels previously.”
“When this modified, the variety of ladies in larger schooling elevated dramatically,” he provides.
As soon as topics linked to medication and schooling are discounted, the disparity within the whole variety of female and male larger schooling college students drops from round 281,000 to only 34,000.
Nonetheless, males should not utterly on the again foot in larger schooling.
They’re nonetheless outperforming ladies in a few of the most prestigious areas – akin to entry to the hardest universities and hardest programs.