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Secondary school splitting classes by gender for certain subjects

(37 Posts)
6timesthefun Wed 06-Jul-16 20:57:46

We had a parents meeting at the secondary school my dd will be starting in September and during the meeting the head told us that the classes are split by gender for science , English and computer studies so the curriculum can be tailored towards the groups.

My dd is not "girly" at all and I have come away imagining that she is going to be reading books about princesses and makeup. I'm sure that's not the case BUT AIBU to not see any need to split the classes for these subjects alone.

This school wasn't one of our choices so I am aware I might be thinking through this too much but it doesn't sit right.

Hassled Wed 06-Jul-16 21:04:19

I don't really understand what "the curriculum can be tailored towards the groups" can mean. I think there have been some studies indicating that pupils perform better in a single sex environment, and presumably that's the basis on which they're doing this. This article is quite interesting. But I understand your unease - especially coupled with the fact you didn't actually choose this school. Have you any anecdotal evidence - any friends with DCs who have already gone through it/are going through it - to see how they feel?

Musicaltheatremum Wed 06-Jul-16 21:05:49

There have been some studies done, I am told, that suggest that boys and girls learn in different ways and respond better to being taught in male or female groups.
I think also in early secondary the different ages and stages of puberty in boys and girls is supposed to make a difference.
My kids went to a mixed school and the girls did dispair with the boys sometimes (and vice versa)
I certainly think for some subjects it seems to be better.
Not got any link to anything but this is what has been said.

Musicaltheatremum Wed 06-Jul-16 21:06:43

Cross post

BananaL0af Wed 06-Jul-16 21:10:20

My nieces went to a secondary school where they were split by gender for all subjects, for the first 3 years. They came together and mixed from year 10 onwards. My nieces didn't seem to suffer from this method, although I'd never come across it before (or since).

Is it the best of both worlds? Single sex to encourage girls in science, to encourage boys who may learn in a different way?

ZoeB2016 Wed 06-Jul-16 21:13:53

They did this for English and math in my secondary school. We studied the same topics but in same sex class groups.

RadicalPessimist Wed 06-Jul-16 21:16:13

I think it's a good idea. It is NOT about teaching science in a dumbed down way to empty headed girlies. It's been proven that in certain subjects girls tend to do better when taught away from boys. I've worked in secondary schools. Boys have a tendency to take over in STEM subjects and girls can end up sidelined. This is a sensible effort to address that.

Mouikey Wed 06-Jul-16 21:19:47

When I was a lass (many years ago) my set for science was all girls except one boy - I was in the set (say middle of the road in terms of academia) because of other gcse options. The whole class including the one boy (who loved it) got top end marks even though in Other subjects didn't achieve similar marks. Indeed we did better than the pure science groups at the top end of the sets. They think this was down to gender, but hey, who knows!!!

NeedMoreSleepOrSugar Wed 06-Jul-16 21:35:23

I imagine as others have said, that the split is to enable different teaching methods to be used. Research suggests this appoach can be very effective, particularly for boys. That said, I do wonder if it's the best way to implement it- as some girls learn in a more 'male' way and visa versa

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 06-Jul-16 21:39:33

there is some evidence that in mixed sex science classes the boys tend to dominate and girls tend to dominate in English discussions. obviously not in all cases but it has been suggested that single sex groups can be beneficial for all of them.

SparklesandBangs Wed 06-Jul-16 21:46:53

I sent my DDs to a single sex school as I believed it was the correct choice, they both excelled at science subjects and will both shortly be at Uni studying STEM degrees. For this reason I that your think your DC school may have a valid and positive plan, however this has to be that the level, complexity and depth of the subjects taught is equal even if the approach and method is different.

noblegiraffe Wed 06-Jul-16 21:58:32

Girls are more likely to choose STEM subjects at A-level if they go to a single-sex school. No idea whether that still happens if single sex groups within a mixed comp. I wonder why the school isn't doing it for maths.

Boys tend to massively underperform in English - there is a massive difference in the pass rate at GCSE for boys and girls. Single sex groups here could mean that they could be more effectively targeted.

Shizzlestix Wed 06-Jul-16 22:43:13

Girls should be encouraged to choose STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Maths) and this is one way of doing it and it helps to remove the gender stereotype that it's just for boys. When I did single sex splits, the boys' results dramatically improved. I'd do all the time it if I could whilst maintaining mixed sex groups for some subjects and for social time.

springwaters Wed 06-Jul-16 22:46:21

Is it a faith school?

carrie74 Wed 06-Jul-16 22:53:17

I know of a school that adopts the Diamond Edge model which sounds similar to this. Separation for core subjects Y7-9, to be able to adapt methodology to gender (eg shorter, more frequent lessons for the boys as they tend to lose concentration quicker).

PurpleAlerts Wed 06-Jul-16 22:57:09

My DD went to an Independent school that did this from years 7-11 (then mixing in the VI form). They had girls and boys forms and all lessons were taught in this way except for a few subjects at GCSE where there were not enough pupils for two classes.

They had the advantage of socialising at break and lunch times but were taught totally separately. There is a lot of research that supports this so called " diamond model" of co-education.

It worked really well, especially for the teenage years where hormones are raging.

BackforGood Wed 06-Jul-16 23:07:09

I think it sounds like an excellent plan - kind of best of both worlds - social time all mixed, but specific lessons taught in single sex groups. Seems to sit with what the researchers have shown to produce the best results.

Celticlassie Wed 06-Jul-16 23:11:38

I know some schools sometimes do it for English so they can select appropriate texts for different genders. Obviously doesn't work for those who don't fit into gender norms, but can be useful, particularly for difficult to motivate boys' classes.

GertrudeSmellsDivine Wed 06-Jul-16 23:15:55

I taught English until 20 years ago and even back then I thought it would be better to teach certain subjects in single sex groups. Having had my own DCs go through the system in the meantime, I'm even more convinced of it.

milliemolliemou Wed 06-Jul-16 23:26:00

Something like this was trialled at a leading home counties school around 15 years ago. It was mostly done for English because the boys were so far behind thinking it soft - and they subsequently did much better. But can see it would be brilliant for girls in STEM so they didn't get overpowered. Think there should also be super-classes for both sexes who want to try national competitions/work on something together. If the teachers have any time - perhaps something to set their Teach First lot on.

mumtomaxwell Wed 06-Jul-16 23:31:03

There is a wealth of research to back this up as a sound approach to teaching and learning. I would love for both the school I teach at and the one my children attend to follow suit.

ClarkeyCat Wed 06-Jul-16 23:37:04

It must have been around longer than that - my year was split up for languages nearly 20 years ago and that wasn't exactly what you would call a "leading" school!

And I have to say, the boys definitely benefitted more from this approach than the girls did.

TheSkiingGardener Wed 06-Jul-16 23:50:17

It depends surely. If it's to allow the diamond model mentioned above then great. If it's like a school near me (primary) who taught mainly girl groups using princesses and mainly boy groups using dinosaurs then it's a crock of shit.

nooka Wed 06-Jul-16 23:51:52

We moved countries partly to avoid having to send our children to single sex schools so you can perhaps guess I'm not keen on this approach (both dh and I went to single sex schools).

I'd be a bit concerned about a school that thought boys and girls were so very different, what sort of messages does that give? I mean what the fuck are 'appropriate texts for different genders'?

mumtomaxwell Wed 06-Jul-16 23:52:39

Should add that I'm a secondary teacher and all the research I've looked at relates to secondary schools - I know fuck all about primary teaching!!

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