39% of MPLS students received a first class degree, in comparison to 26% of Humanities students, 25% of Medical Sciences students, and 23% of Social Sciences students.However, MPLS subjects also topped the tables for 3rd class honours. Only 3 students of 28 receiving 3rds were from non-MPLS subjects, and there were none from Social Sciences. A spokesperson for Oxford University commented, “The distribution of firsts appears to have varied by subject groups for a long time and the same sort of distribution appears to occur in other Russell Group universities. Each division reviews the figures across its group of subjects and the Education Committee looks at the figures across the board.“Research [into the gender gap] has been carried out for over 10 years and has failed to reveal any significant factor that influences examination results…Marking of examination papers has been carried out anonymously for many years.”Disproven Hypotheses for the cause of the gender gap include such theories as natural differences in intelligence and mathematical ability as well as the effect of PMS. These have been researched by Oxford.Suggested “Unproven Hypotheses” include teaching styles, examination anxiety and perfectionism.Louise Privett, an Engineering undergraduate, agreed that the gender gap may be caused by teaching style, “Oxford’s pretty much all taught in lectures and tutes, maybe girls learn better in school style classes – it’s well-known girls do better at school.”Ellie Kaminski, a first-year biologist, on the other hand, claimed that boys simply work harder, “Boys are more nerdy in general. They spend more time studying and less time washing their greasy nerd hair.”Only 8% of black students gained first class honours last year, with every other ethnic group gaining 25% or over, according to newly released statistics. This is reinforced by previous year’s statistics, where the split in different classes of degrees were first publicly recorded for different ethnicities, as black students again underperformed, gaining between 4% and 16% firsts (variability having been added for data protection purposes), in comparison with 29% of white students. Undergraduates who study maths-based subjects are more likely to achieve Firsts than students on arts or social sciences courses, according to the University’s newly released Finals statistics.The data also confirms the existence of a continuing gender gap, with men consistently out-performing women in finals.Males remain more likely to get Firsts than females, gaining almost 200 more last year, with 34% of men getting top honours at finals compared with 23% of women last year.The percentage of women gaining Firsts has remained at 23% for the last 4 years, while the percentage of men rose 3% from 31% the previous year. One explanation offered for the continuing gender gap is that men are more drawn to maths-based subjects.Mathematics & Computer Science students were the most successful last year, with 9 of 11, (82%), gaining Firsts. Of the more widely read subjects, Mathematics and Physics, when taken to Masters, were the most successful, with 51% of 94 students and 49% of 89 students gaining Firsts respectively. Males outnumbered females in all of these subjects. David Ferris, a first-year physicist, denied that the higher percentage of Firsts meant Maths and Physics were any easier, “I doubt they’re particularly easy compared to other subjects. Maths and Physics are the sort of subject that people don’t just choose in order to get a degree, they do it specifically because they want to do the subject, which usually means they’re pretty good at it.”Jurisprudence and Economics & Management students struggled most, out of the popular subjects, to gain the top class, with 17% of each gaining Firsts. The most difficult subjects to gain a First in were Archaeology & Anthropology, Classical Archaeology & Ancient History, and PPP, where the percentages of Firsts barely passed 10%.More generally, students reading in Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences (MPLS) gained over 10% more firsts last year than those reading Humanities, Medical Sciences, or Social Sciences.
Everyone knows that when you appoint John Gummer to chair this important committee you are going toget rigour, you are going to get passion, and you are going to be challenged.But you are also going to get the sense that we can drive ourselves to achieve what you set out. And we are absolutely determined to do it.I just want to say a few things to set the scene for Chris’ introduction of his report.The first is to thank you for the huge work that’s gone into this request that we made in the full knowledgethat we would have rigour, we would have science, we would have the authority that the Committee draws on and always expresses.We will study the recommendations very carefully. But it’s evident already that this is going to beone of the most important publications not just that we’ve had on climate in this country but around the world.It is a seminal work and draws on the very latest climate science and its impact will be felt for decades to come.In recent weeks people from all walks of life and all sections of society have set out the stark and uncompromising case for further action to protect our planet. I applaud them.I think this report is being launched at a time of great national and international commitment and determination to see greater action.One of our proudest achievements as a country is that – with all political parties uniting, and civil society coming together – we have led the world in tackling climate change.Since the year 2000 no country in the G20 has gone further than Britain in decarbonising their economy.Six years ago, 40% of our electricity generated came from coal.When I checked my Gridwatch app this morning there wasn’t a single contribution from coal being generated. Across the year it’s typically now less than 5%, while the world’s biggest offshore windfarms can be found off our coasts.We are still building many of the key pillars of a net-zero economy mentioned in today’s report.From making plans to have the first Carbon Capture and Storage operational from the mid-2020s.To our mission to halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030 and establishing the first zero-carbon Industrial Cluster by 2040.But while all this is necessary, it is not sufficient.We know we must do more – and we will do more.In 2008 I was the opposition spokesman during the passage of the Climate Change Act. Through the passage of the bill the 60% reduction target to 80%.And that was the first law in the world to set a legally binding carbon reduction targets.More than a decade later our ambition – far from having diminished – is strengthened.We want to be the first major economy to legislate for a net zero emissions target.It is the start of a new phase to eradicate our contribution to global warming once and for all.As we consider how we reach net zero we must listen to – and be guided by – the science.That’s why we commissioned the report in October. That the substance of this report has been put togethersince then is a tribute to the professionalism and dedication of John and Chris, and their team.It is a comprehensive and ground-breaking report and we will commit to responding in a timeframe whichreflects the urgency of the issue.In the years ahead the battle to halt catastrophic climate change will be won or will be lost.We intend to win.Here in the UK, we want to do more than just ‘play our part’.We want to lead from the front.Today’s report is part of that.So in this crucial moment for our planet we should be united in our determination to tackle the climate emergencyvigorously at home and show that leadership abroad.It is a great honour and fills me with great pride to be here.Thank for you very much.