Single sex prep - not sure if it's a good idea at such a young age

(34 Posts)
sweetieaddict Wed 28-May-14 21:14:34

Am looking at schools for my ds(3) and one I love is a boys prep.

I'm a little apprehensive though that the environment may be too 'macho' and too 'male concentrated'.

My son is sporty, confident and loves other children - particularly older boys; loves joining in with them at the park etc, but I feel it may not be good for him to spend his formative years in a single sex environment. He has a younger brother and will probably do cubs, beavers, football as hobbies, so again, no mixed activities and little interaction (aside from me) with females.

Am I worrying for no reason? I also feel then, at secondary, he will have to go co-ed, otherwise that will be 14 years in single sex education. I don't know if this is good long term - relationships, maturity, experiences, balance, confidence etc.

I'd love to hear from others who did choose single sex and those who had reservations despite loving the school.

Thanks in advance

SanityClause Mon 09-Jun-14 10:45:22

My DC have all gone to single sex schools, DDs from 4+ and DS from 7+.

They never get the message that there is "girl stuff" and "boy stuff".

I once went to an open day at a girls' secondary school, where a physics teacher was telling me about how the girls were amazed that they could "do" physics - they'd always considered that to be something boys were good at. DD1 was quite amazed at that attitude. In her class of girls, sure some were better than others at various things, but it wasn't down to gender.

Sport is very big at my DD's schools. There is also a lot of emphasis on drama, music and art.

At DS's school, boys have to take on female roles in the school plays. This was particularly hilarious this year, when they did a play about Shakespeare, and some of his characters. We had a boy, playing a character of a girl, who was pretending to be a boy, dressed as a girl. I somehow think Shakespeare would have approved!

The choir and all music is immensely popular at DS's school. They are big on sport, but also drama and art.

All my DC socialise in mixed groups outside of school, so they don't miss out on that.

I agree that it seems stupid that we have to segregate the sexes to give a more rounded education, but until this country changes drastically with regard to gender stereotyping in the school environment, I will continue to consider single sex education the better option.

Theas18 Mon 09-Jun-14 10:48:17

and for what it's worth DH was single sex educated. He gets on fine with women/girls. Does everything I do ( bar giving birth LOL) and as you can see teaches small kids!

DS was/is ( doing A2 now)"single sex educated" (the "" because the girls school is on the same site, so classes separate to 6th form but lots of migling on the bus, through music etc) and he's a rugby loving boy who sings and plays a " girly" instrument LOL . Again it's clear the boys at his school sing and do more music than they would if there were girls in the school- a 13yr old boy treble in a mixed school wouldn't stand a chance in a choir with a top line of 16-18yr old girls!

My DC go to a single sex prep and I do think that it means they don't stereotype things as boys or girls activities. The choir is very popular and they recently had a cake baking competition which all the boys seemed to take seriously. I wonder if this would be the case in a mixed school.

Our roles at home aren't segregated by gender, we both cook and clean etc. so I don't think that the DC have any "traditional" views on what is a male job v a female one.

ridinghighinapril Mon 09-Jun-14 17:14:32

Agree with Theas18, posadas, zero above. Also true for girls going to single sex primary and secondary. I was coed primary (and loved it) and girls secondary, which was absolutely the right thing for me. No boys to distract me in class, no worries about make-up/hair/impressing anyone. Also found that there girls were 'free' to do physics, maths etc without social pressure one way or the other. I went to university and could certainly hold my own when it came conversations about sport with boys.

In the end, good schools AND parents remove boundaries and educate for life. If single sex is the right thing for your child then go for it. They will have friends who have sisters, go to mixed extra curricular groups, have female cousins etc. so girls won't be totally alien to them anyway.

Good luck, hope he has a great time at whichever school he goes to!

Spotsonmydots Mon 09-Jun-14 21:01:58

My son goes to a single sex school but 2 of his best friends are girls outside school. I think it suits him - needs to be outside a lot and is fidgety

Karoleann Mon 09-Jun-14 21:13:07

Both my boys go to a single sex school, it really suits DS1, he's quite boyish has never had any interest in playing with girls (even as a toddler). The teaching methods seem to be completely geared to him and he thrives there.
DS2 it suits less so, his nursery friends tended to be girls and he still plays really well with them. He does find the environment at school quite boisterous, but as another poster said the boys get involved with things that they may not do in a mixed school. He's a really good little gymnast and loves choir and handbells.

ridinghighinapril Mon 09-Jun-14 21:44:52

Just realised I have repeated Sanity and Chazs points - I'm still getting used to mumsnet and didn't realised the thread had gone onto page 2! blush

Mutteroo Tue 10-Jun-14 23:28:52

My son joined a prep school in year 7 which had previously been an all boys school. Girls were slowly being introduced; however DS's class was always all boys & he loved it! He said a couple of weeks ago that he wished he had been at the school from reception & wondered if he would have preferred a single sex senior school? Who knows? The thing is you know your child best & if they are doing co-ed activities/mixing with the opposite sex outside of school, I really don't see the problem with choosing a single sex school.

sweetieaddict Thu 12-Jun-14 20:33:17

Thank you for all your advice and thoughts.

The school offers sewing, cooking and gardening club as 'alternatives' to all the usual sport offerings. Drama and music are really strong too, in fact there's probably as much focus on them as sport and all the boys appear to get really involved.

My ds goes to gymnastics and swimming club which is mixed, so am consciously trying to keep encouraging co-ed activities and interests. He loves baking with me too (not that cooking is a feminine interest I hasten to add!) I was also fully intending to enrol him for Stagecoach when he hits 4 so yes, I do want him to do drama (whilst I can choose!)

He sadly doesn't have any female cousins and doesn't seem to play with any of the girls at nursery - may arrange a couple of playdates over the summer though. However, I don't want to overthink this and go on a crusade to find girls for him to play with!

We're off to their summer fete soon, that'll be a really good opportunity to see what the students are like and the dynamics of the school when everyone is really relaxed and not on 'best behaviour'.

I'll sit him for their assessment and see how he gets on - it may be a case that decision is made for us, but that'll be another excellent opportunity to observe surroundings, environment and behaviour.

We also have our tour with HM and I'll probably go to another open morning in the autumn term - can't do anymore than that really and go on my intuition closer to the time. I still have a feeling though that primary and secondary single sex if just not something I feel wholly comfortable with - it just seems too 'male focused' for such a long period of time....

Will keep updating.

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