Boys 'much more likely to be labelled with special needs'

Official figures show that almost one million boys in English state schools had some form of learning difficulty, behavioural problem or speech and language impairment last year compared with just 511,570 girls.

In all, almost a quarter of boys aged five to 19 had some form of difficulty that prevented them playing a full part in lessons, while just 13.7 per cent of girls were diagnosed.

It follows the release of data showing that boys are much less likely to pass primary school tests in the three-Rs or go on to gain good GCSE grades.

Data from the Department for Education also showed that children were far more likely to have special needs if they were black, from poor families and had been in social services care.

The disclosure follows a landmark report from Ofsted three years ago that claimed many children with special needs were simply “underachieving” because teaching standards were too low.

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