School tries segregated classes scheme

By Liz HearnshawSTUDENTS at one of the region's schools have begun split-sex lessons in an effort to narrow the grades gap between male and female pupils.

By Liz Hearnshaw

STUDENTS at one of the region's schools have begun split-sex lessons in an effort to narrow the grades gap between male and female pupils.

The experiment at King Edward VI High School in Bury St Edmunds has seen GSCE pupils in Year 11 split into single sex lessons for English literature classes.

School headteacher, Geoff Barton, hoped the move would encourage both boys and girls to express themselves more freely when discussing poetry and novels.


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“We have been looking at our results generally and although we do get very good results, our English grades are higher than those for English literature,” he said.

“This is against the national trends, so we were interested to put the pupils in single sex classes for part of the year to see if it may have an impact, leading to higher achievement.

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“English literature depends so much on people being able to express themselves and say what they are feeling.

“The experiment will show us whether or not both girls and boys are more liberated when they do not have to play to a member of the opposite sex.”

The split will only apply to two modules, spanning half of the academic year. The project, which began after the October break, is now in its second week.

“The split has certainly created a different culture in the classroom and although the students are still fairly bemused by it, they are also very interested,” added Mr Barton.

“There is no massive difference between boys and girls at the moment, but there is enough of a gap to make us see if we can address it.

“But we have gone into this with a real spirit of experimentation. Research suggests this approach may work for some subjects and we will evaluate the results at the end of the year.”

liz.hearnshaw@eadt.co.uk

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