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That'll Teach 'em Boys Versus Girls
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The press release for the third series.
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That'll Teach 'Em Boys Versus Girls
Starts Tuesday April the 4th 2006 on Channel 4 at 9pm.

This spring the school gates open again for the third series of the BAFTA-nominated history series That'll Teach 'Em , and this time it's boys versus girls. Thirty bright children who, like most pupils in the UK, attend co-ed schools, are transported back in time to a 1950s grammar school and divided into single sex classes to see whether this method of teaching improves their grades.

Britain's boys are failing at school. They lag behind the girls in their GCSEs by up to 10%, and the gap is getting bigger. Could a dose of traditional single sex education be the key to bucking the trend?

Nowhere is the current crisis for boys more apparent than in science, historically their domain. Radical changes to the curriculum and a combining of the three sciences have seen the smells and bangs of practical experimentation increasingly replaced by computers and coursework.

The girls may have embraced a new feminised curriculum of virtual dissection and online experimentation; but the boys have been left longing for days of chemical hazards and test tube explosions. For them, the once-trusted haven for fun that was the science lab has become, quite simply, boring.

Half as many boys now study sciences at 'A' level causing university departments to close down. For this reason, That'll Teach 'Em: Boys Versus Girls puts the emphasis on the practical and will teach chemistry, biology and physics separately to see if some old-style teaching can reignite a passion for the sciences in our students. The 1950s were a golden age for UK science with the discovery of DNA and eight Nobel Prize nominations - so our pupils have a lot to live up to.

Thrown in at the deep end, lessons begin immediately, and it's not just the 1950s teaching methods and curriculum that are a shock to the system! Finding themselves separated by a vigorously enforced 'six inch' rule, the boys and girls discover they must eat at separate tables and attend separate classes. Matron oversees the removal of all contraband, twenty years of experience enabling her to sniff out even the most ingenious of hiding places. Despite their protestations, all sweets are confiscated and modern toiletries, including deodorant, forbidden. The girls' faces are scrubbed with carbolic soap to remove any traces of make up, and all jewellery, fake nails and other remnants of their 21st-century lives is peeled away. The boys receive the regulation 1950s short back and sides haircut and standard navy blue uniforms, complete with tie and braces. They are not impressed. "I look like such a failure," says one, echoing the sentiments of his classmates.

As well as receiving an average of 40 hours of lessons a week, as opposed to the 28 they are accustomed to, the pupils have to contend with 1950s-style punishments and traditional school dinners, partake in debating societies and treat their teachers with an unaccustomed level of respect. Insolent behaviour was not tolerated in the 1950s and any acts of disobedience see our students immediately packed off to the headmaster's office.

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