BBC to air controversial TV experiment to see if 7-years-old kids can go ‘gender-free’

Is the way we treat boys and girls the real reason we haven’t achieved equality between men and women? asks.

The BBC was under fire for using impressionable young children in a “social experiment” to create a “gender neutral school” for a TV show. Critics, however, argue the show could be harmful to children.

Taking over one Year 3 class from Lanesend primary school (7-years-old children) in the Isle of Wight, the head of the BBC project Doctor Javid aims to remove all differences in the way boys and girls are treated to see if, after six weeks of ‘gender neutral’ treatment, he can even out the gaps in their achievement across a range of important psychological measures, from self-confidence to spatial awareness.

The programme, called No More Boys and Girls, will show what Britain’s first “gender neutral” classroom would look like if it was to become a reality. Sex-separated toilets and sports teams were all ditched as part of the experiment. Books featuring characters ‘squarely aimed at boys’ – including Star Wars stories – are culled. Instead, children are given an ‘alternative narrative’ with new stories where the princess saves the prince from the monster rather than the other way around.

Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said: “There may be a case for legal action against the school and the BBC if any child has suffered psychological harm or distress, either in the short term or the long term. The BBC seems unable to separate fantasy from reality. The fantasy world created at Lanesend Primary School might be permissible in science fiction drama such as Doctor Who, but it can run close to child abuse when translated into real life.”

No More Boys And Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free? will be broadcasted on BBC2 on August 16.