WHITE working class boys aren’t making the grade at schools across the country – and it’s led teachers at one Southampton school to face the problem head on.

Boys at Redbridge Community School will now be taught in single-sex classes for English in a bid to improve their results.

The strategy was trialled last year and has already shown results, teachers at the school say.

Former head of English and now deputy head at the Cuckmere Lane school Helen Jones said: "It’s one of those mysteries - why boys do worse in English when they’re in mixed classes.

"In maths it’s the other way round. So we trialled it last year and so far it’s going well.

"On average our boys are behind the national average in their chronological age so our boys’ performance has to improve."

The school has 56 per cent of children receiving pupil premium, with 35 per cent special educational needs – but the school says it has a "strong" curriculum support unit to give extra help to those who need it.

Ms Jones added: “Our community is well known in Southampton. But it’s all about raising achievement and giving them a route out through education.”

Head teacher Jason Ashley said he was happy to adopt anything that prioritises what the children need.

He said the last year had been one of "unique" challenges, with new tougher GCSEs in maths and English and courses based purely on end of year courses.

He said: "We are plodding forward. Our average GCSE grade has gone up from an E grade to a C- in six years.

"And now 32 Redbridge students can to go to a Russell Group university as 16 per cent have the EBacc - that figure was zero in 2011."

Students can take P.E. as a GCSE or BTech and have an onsite member from the Saints football foundation who works with the students after school.

The sports facilities are kept up to date with a spring-board dance studio and 3G astroturf put in - and despite being an inner city school the site has a large amount of outside space.

The school is run on a PFI basis - meaning that the buildings are managed by company Interserve and rented by the local authority.

Daily Echo:

TALENTED pupils get the chance to express themselves in art GCSE. With students choosing from painting, pottery and sculpture pupils said they enjoy the range of techniques available.

Amber Hansford said creating different pieces of art expands their skills while allowing them to represent themselves. She has created a pottery piece showing her own hands - “It’s art within a piece of art,” she said.

And deputy head teacher Helen Jones said: “The pupils really do well when they have some independence”

Daily Echo:

PHOTOGRAPHY GCSE is a recent addition to the school’s curriculum.

Students choose a theme and use digital cameras as well as an on-site studio with lights. The course is popular with students, and 88% of pupils got A* - C grade last year.

But with a huge reduction in the number of vocational courses available to students nationally, it’s part of an effort to keep students interested.

They can also do health and social care, construction, hairdressing.

The school is the third of fourth biggest in the city - with around 1000 students who mostly live in Millbrook.

Daily Echo:

Harvey Moss, 12, pictured above, said: “My favourite part about the school is that the teachers are nice. Mr Ashley is my favourite because he is the headteacher and he respects us all”.

Daily Echo:

Phoebe Grundy, 13, pictured above, said: “My favourite part of school is that if you have any problems, they always sort it out. I also like dance and drama because it is fun”.

Daily Echo:

Luke Hale, 15, pictured above, said: “They are always looking after the students. The teachers care about the students, they want us to get the grades”

Daily Echo:

Joshua Anderson, 15, pictured above, said: “The facilities are really good and the teachers are kind”

THE privilege of being a member of the school council goes to those who successfully complete the application process

Jobs range from planning discos and other end of year rewards like Winter Wonderland and Party in the Park.

The current student council of 14 pupils, enjoy getting involved in the running of the school and are enthusiastic about the responsibilities that they are given.

Ms Jones said: “We are unusual in Southampton because we have so much space. Southampton Gymnastics use one of the buildings and the community uses the facilities as well.

"Our community is well known in Southampton and we’re really pleased with what we have done so far. It’s about achieving giving the kids education as a route out.”

Teachers get the chance to do pottery, badminton, football and yoga.