Girls school vs. mixed? Which would you choose?

(140 Posts)
MothershipG Fri 05-Oct-12 07:12:21

I went to a girls school and feel I did better than I would have done in a mixed school, although as there is only one of me I obviously have no way of proving this!

My DD is in Yr6 and has the choice of single-sexed or mixed.

If we count other factors as equal which would you choose?

MothershipG Fri 05-Oct-12 10:38:01

Argh! I'm really not sure this is helping! But it really is great to hear so many opinions! To answer a few questions...

...Irritatingly DD doesn't have a strong opinion on this, she'd be happy to go the mixed school her DB attends, or the girls school we visited last night. The schools appear to achieve broadly similar results and the girls school has a Science and Maths specialism and the mixed, Maths and Computing.

She's bright, but no genius, and I am confident she would actually do well in either environment. At the moment she really can't see the point of boys and is greatly irritated by them, but she is also pretty and quite vain so I can see that changing! grin I just want school to be about getting an education not a social life and I really don't recognise or think I know any women like the ones you describe Lottie, including myself!

I'm a feminist and the Head of the girls (should there be an apostrophe there???) school gave a fab speech which chimed with that.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 05-Oct-12 10:47:20

Tak - I think DD would hoot with laughter at the notion of being 'the second sex' - they beat the boys' school at everything except rugby, apparently grin. Mind you, I'd have probably hooted at it too. Probably if girls are brought up in a largely egalitarian home and never gets negative input there, they're more teflon coated against sexist shit elsewhere.

GooseyLoosey Fri 05-Oct-12 10:47:28

I recently moved my Yr 4 dd to an all girls school. She lacks self confidence and is pretty quiet. She is thriving in the new environment.

I spoke to quite a few people about what the difference in the learning experiences would be. The consensus from teachers in both types of school (which I understand is supported by research) is that boys on average get 2/3 of the attention in a mixed class, because in general they are more demanding of attention and the majority of the quiet, well behaved, undemanding children are girls. I accepted that taking the boys out may just make more space for the confident girls, but that has not so far been my experience.

As I remember my mixed school, I didn't really interact with the boys much until 6th form. For that reason, I think I would consider moving her to a mixed 6th form, but for the moment she wouldn't gain anything from the boys being in the class.

Takver Fri 05-Oct-12 10:51:40

Grimma, I would have had the same reaction when I was a teenager. Its only in hindsight that I can see the value of that period in my life.

I went on to a very male dominated degree / profession (at least it was then), so that may have affected my views of the whole thing.

ShaynePunim Fri 05-Oct-12 11:09:35

I would absolutely have chosen a single sex school for my daughter if it had been an option for us.

lljkk Fri 05-Oct-12 11:12:40

Does anyone elaborate in favour of single sex education for BOYS? Ed Husein directly attributed single-sex ed as a factor in him becoming a radical Islamist.

Takver Fri 05-Oct-12 11:14:29

lljkk - I guess you'd probably need to ask somewhere other than Mumsnet to get a wide spectrum of opinions on the merits or otherwise of boys' schools from those who've been through them . . .

Pagwatch Fri 05-Oct-12 11:18:58

Well I posted up thread about DS1 asking to go into single sex.
He loved his schooling and hated the time in mixed.
He was never encouraged to become an extreme Islamist.

BlueStringPudding Fri 05-Oct-12 11:19:51

Another vote for single sex education for girls here. Both DDs have flourished academically yet still have managed to have friendships with boys.

Am interested about whether single sex is good for boys though - as am undecided on that.

lljkk Fri 05-Oct-12 11:23:46

Pag, am I correct to think your lad has ASD, could that be a factor in why single sex ed suited him?

Pagwatch Fri 05-Oct-12 11:31:52

No. Different son Iljkk smile

Ds1 is totally nt. smart and academic but in first team for rugby and cricket and very handsome and popular. I only say that to negate the idea that those who like boys only environment are likely to be geeky or nerdy or socially awkward - as the suggestion that he might have asd implies in fact.

He liked single sex because the boys at the mixed school seemed to 'perform' in lessons in front of the girls.the posturing and acting up didn't exist at single sex but was rife at his mixed school. Being academic was considered geeky and nerdy. There was a huge focus on clothes and trappings - what bag you had, where your trainers came from.
He also found the whole issue of being expected to have a girlfriend at 9 baffling.

He remains very happy that he went single sex. I discussed it with him when we were choosing for DD.

Elibean Fri 05-Oct-12 11:46:57

I went to a girls' school, and wish I hadn't - think I'd have had healthier relationships with boys if educated with them.

That said, that was a long time ago! I do think it depends on the child, and the school...dds are at a mixed primary, and both have great relationships with boys at the moment. I'd be sorry to mess with that, but OTOH I can see that at Secondary level the distractions are different....will need to look at individual schools.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 05-Oct-12 11:52:21

lljjk - I wonder if the dynamics are different for people from a more sexist - overtly so - culture than the norms in Britain? There's probably a whole other can of worms there.

Pagwatch Fri 05-Oct-12 12:01:35

I have to go back to the fact though that, as with almost everything else, it does depend on the individual school.

phlebas Fri 05-Oct-12 12:14:48

Single sex though I do have some mixed feelings about it. For dd1 our first & second choice schools were single sex ... in part because of their academic records but both being girls' schools was a big factor too. She didn't get into either & is now in year 7 at a mixed comprehensive.

It's a good enough school but all the issues so far have been boy/girl - the girls are obsessed with who fancies which boy, having a boyfriend, clothes, makeup etc etc. dd hates it & thinks the girls are in most part pretty pathetic.

Which is why I have mixed feelings - she gets on far better with the boys. I think her ideal school would be a boys' grammar tbh wink

lottiegarbanzo Fri 05-Oct-12 12:15:49

Hmm, I think the match of school culture and peer group, and child personality are probably the most important thing and lots of posts illustrate that.

For me an academically focused mixed school was a good match. The things I imagine I'd have benefited from at a girls' school would have been about it possibly being smaller and supportive on a more individual level, not the absence of boys. My school wouldn't have been so great for a very sporty or musical child. Those activities happened but were a bit marginal.

A mixed school where everyone was obsessed about appearance, boyfriends and social hierarchy, or a ss school with similar preoccupation would have been dire.

I find the second sex comment quite funny (though understand it is a sincere point with a reasoned basis), as we were never second class in a mixed school. Actually we obtained confidence that we could compete and assert ourselves quite easily without any special treatment, which set us up to challenge anything else. The opposite of needing to be protected from the travails of mixed life, I think.

Just another thought but generally, I think mixed schools mitigate against bullying, as there isn't the homogenous culture necessary to support it, the opposite sex will find the behaviour absurd and may mock the bullies.

lljkk Fri 05-Oct-12 12:16:18

Sporty or geeky didn't cross my mind, I was thinking of things like routine, structure, strict discipline, boundaries, role models: aspects of teaching style, discipline & institutional character. Which... curiously, I don't think anyone has commented on as possible differences. And yet, the Girl's school we visited was in some ways extremely girly in atmosphere, in my mind.

Takver Fri 05-Oct-12 12:19:45

lottie, I think it is fantastic that your experience of mixed school was so positive. Unfortunately I think statistics like the one we've seen about the small number of girls opting for physics - and the fact that girls in single sex schools are much more likely to choose the subject - show that this isn't the case everywhere.

Certainly even in reception at dd's school you could see the differentiation between girls and boys, with boys dominating the construction toys, and girls the 'home corner'. Its not so explicit now she's higher up the school, but I still see different treatment of boys vs girls. Admittedly this is a very rural area, so hopefully bigger urban schools are more forward thinking.

Pagwatch Fri 05-Oct-12 12:21:13

Ok. I see what you mean iijkk.

I think issues such a discipline was structure were the same as in his mixed school. The difference was in the exaggerated focus upon stereotypical gender roles. Namely the boys being smart arse class clowns and the girls being very good and neat whilst giggling and mooning over the smart arse boys.

But that was his experience in just two schools.

AllPastYears Fri 05-Oct-12 12:22:01

"Btw, my own experience of 'boys as attention hoggers or a distraction' was that third year (13-14) was a bit blighted by a few poorly behaved pubescent boys taking up a lot of teachers' attention. "

I felt just the same at 11 and so was delighted to go to a girls' secondary school. grin

Takver Fri 05-Oct-12 12:22:58

Sorry, another example I can think of; dd is very keen on woodwork, craft etc. When we were looking round secondary schools, I asked how many girls took 'resistant materials' GCSE (incorporates woodwork, metalwork etc. All the students demonstrating seemed to be boys, hence why I asked the question. The answer in both the schools we visited was very very few - none at all that year in the second school (they also had zero girls taking A level electronics, and a very small %ge in physics). One school the teacher was 'that's a very good question, we don't really think about it, but maybe we should' - the other 'well, its not really a subject that girls like, is it'.

wordfactory Fri 05-Oct-12 12:29:39

For me, having one in all girls and one in all boys, the culture in each is very different. The style of teaching and discipline.

The strict policies of DS school are simply not needed at DD's school. And the high level of pastoral care at DD's school isn't needed at DS's.

Now obvioulsy this simply would not work for some DC. Some girls would need the stricter regimen. Some boys would require more hands on pastoral work. No school works for everyone. But if it hits the spot, as it has done with mine, it is a thing og joy.

CurlsRUs Fri 05-Oct-12 12:32:03

For those posters whose kids go to single-sex schools, does anyone have a boy and a girl? What's it like having them at different schools?

I have a DD and a DS, and our city has both excellent single-sex state schools and an excellent mixed state school. I like the idea of them both going to the same school, not travelling to different parts of the city to go to single-sex schools. But am I being selfish, and not thinking of what's best for each individual child?

Pagwatch Fri 05-Oct-12 12:36:28

Yes. I have a boy and a girl.
I had three children at three different schools.

Having been at school with my siblings it didn't bother me or them to go separately. It is pretty normal tbh. Many of dds friends have a brother in a local boys school

wordfactory Fri 05-Oct-12 12:38:58

curls it's fine. Obviously the logistics are more difficult than when they attended the same prep school. But not too bad as they both get the bus. Just a different bus.

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