Girls have always been best

Geraldine Bedell writes amusingly of girls' academic achievements outstripping those of boys as if this were something new ("When women rule the world", 22 January). At the co-ed grammar school I attended in the 1950s and 1960s, girls always outstripped boys. Boys rarely came top of the class, and the girls got all the best results at O and A level, in every single year. Girls were just cleverer, by far. Yet, when it came to university, boys were accepted with far lower grades than girls. This was particularly noticeable in the Oxbridge system of the time. Moreover, in those days, girls were discouraged from applying to university, presumably to save places for the boys.

Only now are we seeing the natural result of boys and girls having to compete on a level academic playing field. The current popularity of coursework has nothing to do with it; coursework hadn't been heard of in my day.

Liz Hodgkinson
London W14

This article first appeared in the 05 February 2001 issue of the New Statesman, Laughing all the way to No 10?