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...

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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 !

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.

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.

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.

Elibean Sun 06-Jan-13 15:07:38

Co-ed independent schools around here - selective and less (but still) selective.

notnagging Sun 06-Jan-13 15:05:58

I don't see how this would be an issue. Most selective schools are single sex aren't they? They are around here.

Both state, although that doesn't really make much difference to the question you're asking.

Things I like about the girls' school:

The freedom to be good at any subject without sexist pressure, e.g. Physics, Maths

Less distraction during lessons and no complications of having to share lessons with potential, current or past boyfriends

No classmates sending you sexually inappropriate texts, asking you for naked photos or pressurising you for fellatio in the toilets.

I realise that these are not a problem in every mixed secondary school, but all of them have happened to friends' daughters in the one that DD would be going to.

DD (Y4) is at a mixed primary and will probably go to a girls' secondary as we feel it's the best school for her.

crazygracieuk Sun 06-Jan-13 14:44:28

A lot of girls in ds1's primary school made a similar change and judging from their FB updates they love it.

Single sex education is supposed to be best for girls from an academic point of view and if most of her current friends are girls then that's a bigger friendship pool?

My da1 is equally friendly with boys and girls so I would choose co-ed but many boys will have sisters/ neighbours/ friends at the local girls school so he'd still meet them socially. He is at a mixed comp but meets people from 2 other local comps all the time so Si think it's normal.

Elibean Sun 06-Jan-13 11:38:36

I went to an all-girls secondary, and whilst I did enjoy it I do remember us all being hugely boy-obsessed. Possibly times have changed, with lots more extra-curricular opportunities to mix socially with boys helping.

I think it depends on the child, tbh, and on the school.

We're thinking dd1 may go private at Y7, if the local comp hasn't improved sufficiently by then (she's in Y4 now). She adores her primary, and it is just right for her - so we've taken the risk and will deal with secondary as it comes.

I do think single sex/mixed is not as important as it just being the right school.

TotallyBS Sun 06-Jan-13 00:32:35

My DD goes to a girls-only secondary school. It hasn't been a problem for us/her since she mixes with boys at her extra curricular activities.

crazycarol Sat 05-Jan-13 23:45:15

We have done exactly this with dd and 5 years in have no regrets. However we focussed on the right school for dd rather than looking at co-ed/all girls. She also got a place at a co-ed school with similar academic standards, but her choice was the all girls school, it was smaller (half the size) and in her opinion had a good "feel". It was also very highly thought of for music provision which was important to dd. The co-ed school was also very good for music but not quite as good.

DD is a sensitive hard working girl who at 10/11 just found boys a bit of a nuisance. So the absence of boys was a bonus to her!

However this all girls school is partner to an all boys school and they do lots of extracurricular stuff together and also 6th form is co-ed in order to prepare them for uni, real life etc so not complete segregation.

piggywigwig Sat 05-Jan-13 20:13:56

I went from a mixed primary to an all-girls grammar school in the late 70's to mid 80's. I loved it and would have hated to have been in a mixed school. I've always tended to get on better with males on a social level but I was glad to see the back-end of them in classroom terms, come the final part of my last year in primary school. My view never wavered throughout GS - the boys we came across from the boys' grammar, were geeks or arrogant twerps - bleurghhhh wink

DD2 will hopefully be going to the all girls' GS this year and I feel sure she'll continue to thrive without boys in the class wink I know that bitchiness can rear its ugly head but I can't see that it's going to be any worse than what DD1 suffered at mixed secondary. Anyway, hormones have been rampant and causing immense "boyfriend/girlfriend" problems for DD2's class for the last 18 months...I'll be glad to have her away from that distraction in the classroom wink

CandyCrush Sat 05-Jan-13 20:10:06

You are spot on with the area. Is it that obvious? wink

maiacam Sat 05-Jan-13 19:25:23

If it is in the BN area I know the schools you are referring too. I used to think really highly of the girls school and was only going to consider it for my daughter who is in year 6 at the moment but I have heard certain things that have really changed my mind plus there are quite a few girls in the current year 6 at the junior school who want to leave. My daughter went for a taster day and didn't like it at all she is now going to a small private co ed school in a nearby town which my son attends and loves. I am so happy with my choice for both children. If it is not BN area then disregard this message. Any more info required please contact me.

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