Is an all girls secondary after mixed primary a mistake?

(39 Posts)
CandyCrush Sat 05-Jan-13 17:28:51

Hello all.

My DDs father and I are separated (since she was born) we have a good amicable relationship and agree that due to where we live, a private secondary education is a good idea. He can afford to fund this, but the "extras" will be largely up to me.

The problem is that the city in which we live has a surprisingly limited choice of secondary private education. The obvious choice is an all girls school which is very close to our homes and has a good reputation. It's not hugely expensive or selective and has a friendly atmosphere. The nice thing is that the girls are from a very mixed bag of backgrounds, some mega-rich, but largely "normal" working families (which would be us!).

My reservation is that it's all girls! I went to a mixed comp so I have no idea if this is a good idea or not. DDs dad is not keen on the idea and wants mixed-sex.

In theory I am happy with that but the problem is that in practise there is no reasonable alternative. In the city there are two other private schools, one is a very highly respected, highly selective, very sporty major public school (also very expensive!). It has only been mixed for a while so I think it is still majority boys. The other is a huge imposing very prestigious girls school which is out of the question.

How do I put it to DDs dad that the only option is the local girls school? I can't see DD at the mixed one. It's just so not her (or me, or him either!).

Aside from that, she is currently at a local state primary, is it a bad idea to think that she can go private at year 7 or should we be looking at moving her before? Because of the area we live in, she certain,y won't be the only one from her school going private!

Sorry for the essay, this is something that is worrying me a lot at the moment...

Heifer Sun 06-Jan-13 15:08:43

My DD (9) goes to an all girls primary school and will continue in secondary.
It was a big issue for me when we moved to the area and I hadn't any experience but it was the best school for her..

In Secondary here most schools are single sex. We still have Grammar schools here and all are single sex. Even more single sex comp schools than mixed.

I had read that girls perform better at single sex but boys don't. No idea how true that actually is,but I definitely know it's right for my DD.

The key for me as she is also an only and no young cousins etc is to make sure she does some activities with boys.

Whiteshoes Sun 06-Jan-13 15:23:57

It's a long time since I looked at the data, but back in the day, girls performed better in all girls' schools, and boys performed better in mixed schools.

And I also think it's very good for girls to think all subjects are suitable for girls.

CandyCrush Sun 06-Jan-13 15:34:57

DD is also an only child, but she would always have a lot of contact with boys. She has 6 boy cousins of similar age to her and because the area we live in is so densely populated she is always around lots of boys.

I need to work on her dad, although I also think it will come down to which school is best rather than the type of school. It's just frustrating that there is so little choice here. Travelling further afield would be tricky for us for a number of reasons but its also a possibility as that opens up a lot of options.

KenDoddsDadsDog Sun 06-Jan-13 15:37:59

I went from mixed to all girls and it was fine. My best school friends to this day are lads from the boys school !

maiacam Sun 06-Jan-13 15:47:25

Good luck with your decision all the private schools I can think of in the surrounding area have very good bus services x

Copthallresident Sun 06-Jan-13 16:22:38

You may find that however much you worry ahead the decision you reach after you have visited the schools and gone through the admissions process will not be what you anticipated. We had quite negative perceptions of the school my DD went to, but she walked out of the interview knowing that was where she wanted to go and it was a wise choice, she thrived there. It was single sex but that wasn't the basis of the decision. It just felt right.

Inaflap Wed 09-Jan-13 18:33:43

I have taught in mixed and in all girls. The difference is marked. The amount of time and attention that boys take should not be underestimated and i am the mother of two boys. The low level disruption and just general dominance of lads means that quiet girls in particular get overlooked and also always get seated next to the disruptive lad in an effort to maintain behaviour. The girls school you describe sounds very similar to my experience and I would say that the girls have the freedom to be well normal and themselves without conforming to some sort of stereotype. With the prevalence in the media of sexualised women girls do seem to take on that. We had a huge problem in my mixed school (successful, very high achieving in a niace area) with girls wearing teeny weeny skirts even the really brainy ones. In the single sex school it just isn't an issue. In the mixed environment, boys sport dominated and it was a very rare girl that played a knockabout football game at breaktime with the lads. You never saw girls outside. In the ss school, girls do still tend to talk more at break but there is also more running around and sport is highly regarded.

Inshort, if I had a daughter I would send to single sex school if I felt that the rest of the package was good. It wouldn't be the sole reason for my choice though.

LaQueen Thu 10-Jan-13 11:23:21

No, I'm all for all girls schools at secondary level.

Both our DDs are at a mixed primary, but will go up to an all girl's grammar - and I'm very happy about this.

I have worked in schools and I think that girls stay young girls for longer in a single sex school. I think they can concentrate better at lessons, and do far better in the sciences and maths.

There's fewer distractions, or emotional angst over rubbing shoulders with boyfriends/ex boyfriends/hopeful boyfriends...and school remains largely the place where they get educated and doesn't provide a stage for them to act our their teenage desires/angst.

Our DDs will still mix socially with boys all the time, in their cricket team, tennis lessons, with their cousins, their friend's brothers...but I'm really pleased they won't be mixing with them at school.

LaQueen Thu 10-Jan-13 11:25:23

To add, I have 3 friends and two relatives who teach in mixed/single sex schools and their experiences are the same as Inaflap's. And I just don't want that for our DDs.

losingtrust Sat 12-Jan-13 11:40:47

I did both. Mixed primary, all girls then mixed comp. All girls did not suit me. I was always much happier in mixed and enjoyed the competitiveness of the boys particularly academically. My dd though is very different. Much happier in all girls. The attitude of girls to boys does worry me though as the behaviour of the girls at our local private girls school was not good and they did have a reputation with the teachers and with boys. I actually found girls state schools or selective girls schools had less of an issue therefore would not send dd to mon-selective girls' private school.

losingtrust Sat 12-Jan-13 11:49:52

School uniform was worse at the all girls private school. My personal view is that a girl who is quiet may be better at all girls. An academic but competitive girl who is not afraid of speaking up is better in a mixed.

Devora Sat 12-Jan-13 11:49:58

I like to have an opinion on everything, but really struggle to come up with a view on mixed sex vs. single sex. Depends on the child, depends on the school. I think there's a lot of stereotyping that all girls is bitchier, but just from reading MN threads I don't see that children in mixed schools get off any lighter.

I went to a mixed primary, followed by a girls (state) secondary, and I don't think the bitching was any worse than anywhere. The bullying was I think at a lower level than at most schools. The other positive thing is that I did find it quite a relief to have a daily refuge from the constant dealing-with-boys-and-finding-it-all-very-stressful thing that comes with adolescence.

Academically, girls tend to do better in single sex environments.

IslaValargeone Mon 14-Jan-13 16:52:07

My dd has been 'the quiet girl put next to the disruptive lad' at both of the primaries she has attended.
In September she starts at an all girls school, she can't wait.

cq Mon 14-Jan-13 16:58:04

I went to an all-girls school and vowed I would never put my kids in single sex education.

Here I am with DD in Yr 7 and DS in Yr 9, both in single sex independent schools and both doing very well.

In the end, it was more about the school, the ethos and the feel of the place rather than just the single sex v mixed issue for me.

Never say never eh? smile

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