Latest figures reveal girls are still outperforming boys in schools throughout Bradford. This summer, girls achieved an average GCSE points score of 372.3, with boys trailing significantly behind on 336.3.

Boys are also failing to keep pace with their female peers in achieving the Government benchmark of five GCSEs. This year in Bradford 59.6 per cent of girls achieved the feat while boys lagged behind on 51.4 – a gap of 8.2 per cent. However, the gap between the sexes has narrowed slightly - in 2007 it was 9.1 per cent.

Education experts say measures are now in place to help bridge the divide which leaves Bradford boys ranked among the lowest in the country for average attainment levels in reading and writing.

An Education Bradford spokesman said: “We are working in partnership with schools to assist boys who are currently under-achieving. A key element of the work is early intervention in primary schools which will have an impact on boys by the time they take GCSEs.

“One way they are supported in literacy in primary schools is through a peer buddying project. Year Six boys are being recruited as reading buddies for Year Two boys. And in secondary schools, Year 11 boys are recruited as reading buddies for boys in Years Nine and Ten.”

Keighley’s Greenhead High School has developed a series of measures to boost boys’ performance after being chosen in 2005, alongside 65 other secondary schools throughout the country, to participate in the National Education Breakthrough Programme. It focuses on five key factors designed to push boys forward: strong leadership, a focus on teaching and learning methods, mentoring and pupil intervention, making the best use of all resources and the use of pupil data to drive performance upwards.

John Lockwood, assistant head teacher at Greenhead High said: “Boys are underachieving compared to girls throughout the country.

“However, we now grade students regularly so they know where they are - there is a lot more intervention going on. So much of it is about raising self-esteem – peer pressure is also an issue.”

Mr Lockwood said the school had introduced coursework days during which boys can spend all day completing coursework project.

He said: “Boys and coursework over a long period don’t always go together. Holding a coursework day gets it out of the way – you can see their shoulders rise up and they feel good about themselves.”

Greenhead also regularly work with a London-based motivational performance Ashley Jackson.

The programme has reaped rewards. Three years ago 27 per cent of boys at Greenhead achieved five GCSEs or more at grade A* to C. This year 81 per cent met or bettered the target.

Mr Lockwood and teachers from the school are now sharing their expertise on boys’ performance with other secondaries, including Oakbank and Holy Family in Keighley, Bingley Grammar, Ilkley Grammar and Parkside in Cullingworth.