to be nervous about a Single Sex school

(58 Posts)
fruitstick Sun 16-Oct-16 14:07:20

DS has opportunity to choose between two great schools.

One is large co-ed and the other is a smaller boys' school.

The boys' school has a better reputation but instinctively I think DS would prefer mixed.

I went to a single sex school and loved it so I'm very confused.

I'm not sure whether my feminist principles are getting in the way.

He says he wants the mixed school too but I'm conscious they change an awful lot between year 6 and year 13!

crispandcheesesanwichplease Sun 16-Oct-16 17:29:20

I went to a single sex school in the 80's. Would have preferred a co-ed but was raised within a particular religion and all my friends were going to the same school as me. However it would never have occurred to me to send any child of mine to a single sex school.

My daughter has just started year 8 of a co-ed secondary school, she is not long turned 12. I am horrified by the sexualised language and apparent casual misogyny coming from the boys. She is regularly called a slut/slag (for something as small as being in another pupil's way on the stairs), frequently has to put up with boys making comments about her breasts (she's not particularly developed, still in training bra). Feels self conscious if it's hot and she takes her jumper off due to boys constantly staring at her chest. She has also recently had a close male school friend try to get her to watch porn on his phone.

I really wish she could just get through her everyday adolescence without being constantly bombarded with this shit and if I'd had any real insight into what life is like at secondary schools these days I would have seriously considered the single sex option.

myownprivateidaho Sun 16-Oct-16 17:35:24

As far as I know on average girls do better in single sex education and boys do better in mixed. I'm passionately in favour of single sex education for girls -- but I agree that for boys it's a much trickier issue. I guess you can try to decide based on the other features of the schools?

fruitstick Sun 16-Oct-16 18:28:58

I think that's my nervousness - not the education but that he'll become a misogynistic twat. Maybe compulsory Woman's Hour on iplayer at teatime.

topcat2014 Sun 16-Oct-16 18:35:28

Is it likely he will get routine contact with girls another way (such as scouts / sports clubs).

Depending on how outgoing (or not) my child was, I would worry about them basically failing to meet any of the opposite sex until university or some such.

topcat2014 Sun 16-Oct-16 18:36:25

which of course would be tricky, attitude wise,

Misselthwaite Sun 16-Oct-16 18:39:19

I think I would struggle with single sex because why divide a cohort on that basis? Any division to my mind then creates an us and them. The aim is surely for everyone to see everyone else as people.

zazas Sun 16-Oct-16 18:49:57

Just talking about this exact subject with my DS15. His thoughts were that sending girls to an all girl's school because of boy's behaviour towards the girls wasn't doing anything to sort the issue of sexist behaviour. He felt that it was surely better for the advancement of society that schools (girls) help educate boys how to behave towards girls in the hope that eventually this sort of thing won't be part of our society. Idealistic?

I would have to agree though (my teenagers are educated at a coed school, while I was single sex) as I have seen the huge benefits with my DD and DS being able to relate to the opposite sex in a mature and equal way (unlike myself at their age). In contrast I am also aware of other boys we are friends with who are in single sex who are at best socially awkward around girls at worst exhibiting undercurrent sexist undertones in their interaction with females.

AndNowItsSeven Sun 16-Oct-16 18:51:17

Single sex schools are much better , mainly for girls but also for boys.

whatyouseeiswhatyouget Sun 16-Oct-16 19:00:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

crispandcheesesanwichplease Sun 16-Oct-16 19:03:08

Zazas I totally agree with your son, however it does not seem to be happening. I think that a skewed, misogynistic attitude towards girls/women is becoming much more mainstream.

As such OP I expect your son is going to come across poor and negative attitudes towards girls no matter what school. It is a fact that as parents these days we have to work hard, with both our daughters and sons, to challenge and try to counteract these awful messages about sex and women that are all around them.

Going to a single sex school didn't stunt my ability to relate to, and get on with, boys as I've always had both make and female friends.

Rosae Sun 16-Oct-16 19:03:34

Trust your instincts. My sister and I went to a single sex school. She thrived in it, i didn't. And did much better when i changed to a co-ed sixth form college. All depends on the child.

Wrinklytights Sun 16-Oct-16 19:04:27

Yanbu. I wouldn't be happy with my boys going to a single sex school. Although as they have sisters at least they would come into contact with girls I suppose.

CointreauVersial Sun 16-Oct-16 19:04:58

Leaving aside the single-sex / mixed question, are there reasons why a bigger school might be better than a smaller one? Facilities, curriculum etc?

Saucery Sun 16-Oct-16 19:08:41

I would go with reputation and results. Plenty of opportunities outside of school to mix with girls and many single sex schools have links with nearby single opposite sex schools for socialising/drama productions etc.
They really aren't taught the opposite sex are an alien species 😄

Gardencentregroupie Sun 16-Oct-16 19:09:42

zazas why on earth should vulnerable, nervous, often intimidated girls like crispsandcheese's DD be responsible for teaching boys how to behave??

PaperdollCartoon Sun 16-Oct-16 19:13:15

I used to be set against single sex schooling until I actually studied education at uni (sociology degree, mature student) Now I'm really for it, for secondary at least.
Boys in all boys schools get to be kids for longer, without girls to show off to there's less worry about still playing with certain toys etc. They tend to do better at 'girly' subjects like English and Art in single sex schools as well, when they don't have to compete with the more communicatively socialised girls. It does depend on the culture of that specific school of course, and the personality of each individual child, but while I don't have a son yet but I'd definitely consider it myself if it's an option in future.

Also all my early boyfriends went to all boys schools and had no problems communicating with girls.

Saucery Sun 16-Oct-16 19:15:21

It's a pathetic and derogatory myth that boys who go to all boys schools have difficulty communicating with girls.

crispandcheesesanwichplease Sun 16-Oct-16 19:19:06

Garden - just for the record my daughter is neither nervous nor often intimidated. She's outgoing, confident and vocal. That kind of makes it worse though as if it pisses her off and makes her feel body conscious then what is it doing to the the quieter and less confident girls?!

I also think zazas son actually meant that the schools (not the girls) should be educating boys. Am I right on that zazas?

Gardencentregroupie Sun 16-Oct-16 19:23:45

With all respect to your DD, the fact that she even stops to think about taking off her jumper when hot shows she's been subject to intimidation, it is no slur on her whatsoever. And if it is schools to teach boys then why not an all boys school? The above post clearly, to me, seems to be trying to place the responsibility for boys behaviour on girls. Again.

YuckYuckEwwww Sun 16-Oct-16 19:25:41

I dunno about the "girls do better in single sex schools" thing. It seems to base a successful school life on academic attainment from what I can tell

I went to an all girls school, I did well academically, did well later in further education however it was in a "girly" field, which my school did encourage.

However I left school very immature. emotionally and socially.

I dread the fact that my girls may have to do single sex because the only local co-ed is awful

crispandcheesesanwichplease Sun 16-Oct-16 19:33:36

I agree Garden that all schools should be tackling this. I see little evidence of it at our school though. I sometimes wonder if it's too big and entrenched for schools to actually know where to start. Not that that is an excuse to ignore it mind you.

It really does seem that we're going backwards in terms of gender issues sometimes.

Any teachers out there who can give us a perspective from their side?

Madeyemoodysmum Sun 16-Oct-16 19:45:44

I'm just about to send mine co ed. I loved the school It felt welcoming for both sexes. I can't speak for sexist behaviour but I have friends with kids already there so this thread has inspired me to ask.

I do feel it's up to parents to educate boys on sexist behaviour not schools, they could help with good quality phse lessons tho. But sadly with modern film content, music Internet porn and social media I feel this is worse than my childhood. men's Mags only really about then, bad enough but to get really sordid stuff you had to go specialist. This is my biggest worry and one reason id not go single sex. I want my kids to learn about the other sex as they grow up in what I hope will be a kind nurturing environment. I could have got it all wrong tho can only go on my first impressions.

ittooshallpass Sun 16-Oct-16 19:55:39

My DD is a tomboy through and through. She is at primary school now and all her friends are boys. The local co-ed secondary school seems to have a dreadful sexual undercurrent; with awful stories of older boys hounding younger vulnerable girls for sex. Some of the stories I have heard make me feel sick to my stomach but my DD would be horrified at the thought of a single sex school.

I'd like to know what schools are doing to address this awful situation we find ourselves in.

crispandcheesesanwichplease Sun 16-Oct-16 19:55:59

Madey - if it's a kind and nurturing environment you're looking for can I suggest you consider home schooling!

You are absolutely right with parents' responsibility. Any issues you as a parent believe your child needs to be educated about are parents' responsibility as well as schools'.

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