London, Nov 21 : Brit boys are lagging far behind by the age of five and as they start school, fuelling fears that many are being pushed too hard in their early years, according to a survey.
Figures revealed that girls dramatically outperform boys in every area of early development - including basic literacy, communication and imaginative play. The results came from the Government analysis of 556,000 children aged four and five at the end of the foundation stage - before infants move into Year One.
It was found that nearly 58 per cent of girls were competent in all areas as compared to only 41 per cent of boys.
The gap in reading and writing has stretched over the last three years.
The results indicated that most of the boys start compulsory school without being fully prepared for lessons.
And the gender gap continues as kids go from primary to secondary school.
All children are assessed by teachers at the end of the foundation stage.
According to figures, some 70 per cent of girls had decent writing skills compared to 52 per cent of boys. In reading, 76 per cent of girls achieved the standard expected of their age against 65 per cent of boys.
At 16 years of age, almost seven in 10 girls gain five good GCSEs - compared to only 60 per cent of boys.
Experts have claimed that a more tailored education in the early years would trigger the narrowing of the gap among teenagers. They believe that boys are naturally late starters but are being further held back by the Government's "nappy curriculum".
According to ministers, the so-called 'Early Years Foundation Stage' - which sets out new targets for children from birth to five - will ensure all youngsters receive a decent early education.
However, critics said that it is too prescriptive, and is pushing some children too hard and would leave childminders out of business.
Sue Palmer, a writer and former headteacher, warned that the gap was evidence many young boys were being failed.
"This gap is the product of nature, nurture and culture. The boys are developmentally slightly behind from the beginning. If they don't get the opportunities they need for active engagement in the early years they are going to fall further back. This is precisely what is happening," The Telegraph quoted her as saying.
She added: "Boys are a little behind from the moment they are born. They need much more play and outdoor activities to develop their physical control and naturally learn by themselves how to sit still. If you have a system, like ours, which starts imposing formal work at such an early age they are going to find it hard.
"Children have to meet these goals, such as learning to write, by the time they are five, which means people will try to get them to hold a pencil and start writing at the age of three or four, which is far too young."