Girls outperform boys in their first year of school because of biological differences, says a children's education charity.
According to Jean Gross, director of Every Child a Chance Trust, the part of boys' brains which deals with literacy is less developed than that of their female peers.
"The bits of their brain that deal with language are less developed in relation to less spatial skills whereas in girls it is reversed," she said.
Ms Gross added that those with jobs in education
are already doing a "huge amount" to redress the balance such as introducing reading clubs and buying books likely to appeal to boys.
Her comments follow the release of figures from the Department of Children Schools and Families which indicate a gap in performance between the genders.
The statistics suggest that 78 per cent of five-year-old girls are able to hold a pencil and write recognisable letters, compared to 62 per cent of boys.