The introduction of single-sex classes within co-educational schools is a strategy adopted by some schools to enhance the learning experiences of either the girls or the boys depending upon the educational climate of the time. In a period dominated by the 'what about the boys?' debate, this strategy is currently being introduced and advocated in a number of schools in an attempt to raise boys' achievement. This article explores the value of introducing single-sex classes within co-educational schools, and in doing so, it draws upon the perspectives of girls and boys involved in one such initiative. The article concludes that girls-only classes may have positive effects for girls. However, curriculum-as-usual boys' classes do nothing to challenge the problematic macho male cultures inherent in schools; indeed, it may be the case that they actually exacerbate them.
This was one of the first articles published on what has become an increasingly popular and researched topic, namely, the introduction of single-sex classes within co-educational schools. It feeds into what is now a topical, important and lively debate about the value of single-sex classes within co-educational schools; a debate that was given impetus by David Blunkett's (then Secretary of State for Education) call in 2000 for more co-educational schools to experiment with single-sex lessons. Based upon empirical research in one secondary school, the paper draws upon the perspectives of girls and boys involved in one such initiative. This article was chosen for inclusion in the Education Arena Sample Journal pages in 2004/05, and was the 8th most requested article (out of 100 included in these pages), with 470 downloads. RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Education