Advanced search

Single sex schools

(36 Posts)
IslaValargeone Tue 26-Jul-11 15:58:00

Is there anyone 'in the know' who can direct me to any recent research in single sex education, especially in relation to girls. I had been led to believe that it was quite beneficial for girls but my friend thinks I'm 'off my head' to be considering it. Her argument hasn't gone any further than girls are horrible bullies so you need a balance of the two sexes, so I would like to read more.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 26-Jul-11 16:16:44

crazycarol Tue 26-Jul-11 20:35:22


Ladymuck Tue 26-Jul-11 21:29:25

Google the Girls School Association. Obviously biased but gives reason pro single sex.

pinkgirlythoughts Tue 26-Jul-11 22:39:04

Also google the 'diamond model' of education. I worked in a school that used this model, and as I understood it, the basic gist seemed to be that single sex education is better- academically, socially and emotionally -for 11-16 year olds, but that for older and younger children, co-education is more effective. They had mixed classes in the pre-prep, preparatory and 6th form departments, and single sex classes in the senior school.

LittlePushka Tue 26-Jul-11 23:02:16

Cannot offer measurable evidence but, in support of pinkgirlythoughts, I would say that between the said ages 11-16 I took my eye off the ball educationally so to speak,...and the reason was wholly and exclusively to do with boys and all that caper!! As a result of my own experience alone, I personally would send my children to single sex schools if that were possible.

I did ok in the end but I do know I could have done far better!

Ladymuck Tue 26-Jul-11 23:28:30

Diamond schools are still fairly rare though. Which actually brings it back to the fact that when you make a school decision, usually the driver won't simply be single-sex v co-ed, but what the characteristics of the schools available to you are, and which of those schools will best suit your family. Unless you are looking at boarding, then your local schools dictate your choices, and you'll probably need to look at both co-ed and single sex schools in order to decide.

Lizcat Wed 27-Jul-11 13:14:22

As a mother of a girl I was and am very keen on single sex education to 16. I think you will find that even when presented with the research there will still be some people who are a bit shock about this choice if you make it.
The head of the all girls school my DD attends stresses to all parents that whilst the research says that all girls education is good it is really important that they get lots and lots of exposure to boys outside of school.

IslaValargeone Wed 27-Jul-11 13:19:45

Unfortunately we had an issue with bullying last year, and my friend has given me the heebeejeebies about bullying at girl's schools, I get the feeling she thinks I'm crazy to consider it given what we went through with my dd.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 27-Jul-11 13:31:27

DD is at a mixed school.
If girls want to be bitch they will do it anywhere.
I did - I went to private Girls only to 18. Bullying was rife.
If the Head deals with it badly it will escalate in any school
if the head deals with it well it stops.
DDs school stamped on a real problem last year (cat fight stuff) excellently.

IndigoBell Wed 27-Jul-11 14:45:29

I went to a co-ed school, and don't know what it's like to go to a single sex school.

I'm sure they're plusses and minusses to both. But you don't necessarily want to judge a school's success just on it's exam results.

For example, male dominated professions tend to pay more than female dominated professions. So I'm certainly glad that I'm very comfortable working in a male dominated environment......

Erebus Fri 29-Jul-11 15:38:37

I think that, once again, it's to do with personality.

Fwiw, I went to an all girls GS (so another factor in there, again!) but I believe that whilst it was fine, 11-16, it was waaay off the mark 16-18. It was rather ridiculous, the rarefied, blue-stockinged air, the still-in-full-uniform thing etc etc. The girls who thrived were, frankly, those who were a bit scared of the opposite gender- many applied to womens colleges as well.

There wasn't much bullying at all, I recall but possibly this was because a) we were, to put it bluntly, perhaps cleverer, more articulate and often with stronger personalities therefore were less likely to succumb to bullying, and b) being selective, they could (and occasionally did!)- deselect.

Another interesting thing I've heard is how in favour of a mixed comp many of my female friends at work are- however, they are, to a woman, better looking than average. I think this is a serious point, ie a clever, pretty girl would possibly find a mixed comp an easier ride than an average looking girl of any academic level.

Finally, I've read that parents of boys want their DSs in mixed schools, parents of girls want their DDs in single sex schools!

hocuspontas Fri 29-Jul-11 16:00:27

DD2 at a mixed comp and the disruption in class is boys. And just like at primary, girls are used to separate boys by sitting between them. DD1 and DD3 at single sex comp and there is none of this continous disruption and pushing of boundaries that need to be dealt with before learning can go on. DD1 and DD3 love their school, DD2 doesn't and is constantly moaning about petty rules for girls (hair, clothes, jewellery, uniform etc) and the (according to her) favouritism of the boys.

Just our own experience! I went to a single sex school myself .

TalkinPeace2 Fri 29-Jul-11 16:08:48

But again we are back to the issue that the attitude of the management team affects everything.

At my GDST school the head was an ineffectual twit so we ran riot
at my kids primary the head was a drip so discipline is weak
at the secondary the head and her SMT are consistently strict so DD and her geek girl friends are NOT held back by the boys

Milliways Fri 29-Jul-11 16:13:55

My DD wrote an article in support of mixed-sex schools (at request of her school!).

Her argument was she was always pushed harder by having boys in the class. I Maths & Science her first target was to be "top girl" and then to beat the boys as well grin (Maths & Sciences were her "weakest" subjects but the competition pushed her onto top grades).

teacherwith2kids Fri 29-Jul-11 16:52:43

I think it comnes down to your child, your family, and the schools in question.

I went to an all-girls boarding school BUT the important thing for me that it was highly academic, whereas the mixed 11-16 comprehensive where we lived had only just stopped being a secondary modern.

That said, both my brothers went to the comprehensive and we all ended up with similar degrees from Oxbridge - and that was due to having parents who were both Oxford graduates, much less to do with the schools.

For DS, we have a mixed comprehensive, a super-selective mixed grammar and a boys' grammar as options - have discounted the boys' grammar because I visited it and hated it - not because of the single sex nature, but because it was run-down, had no sports facilities to speak of, nobody appeared to care about the place (battered, torn displays, everything shabby) and because it was all 'we don't have to try, we're a grammar'. For DD, we will have the same mixed options and a girls' grammar (and very famous girls private school but it's a long way out of our price range!), and whether we consider the girls' grammar will depend entirely on our impressions when we visit it and talk to people there.

teacherwith2kids Fri 29-Jul-11 16:59:32

The thing about being pushed by the boys, btw - what often seems to happen, though, is that girls are 'pushed out by the boys' in traditional 'male' subjects. In an all-girls environment, there is not the same division between subjects and that means that more girls may take things like maths and sciences.

Certainly out of my year, half of the year (45) took History A-level - and the other half took Physics, which was timetabled against it. I'm not certain whether in a mixed sixth form of 180 a year (90 girls, just to make an example), you would get 45 of the girls doing physics, nor over 40 doing maths A-level.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 29-Jul-11 17:14:05

You have to look at each school on its merits, which are multivariable!

When we were looking at secondary schools for DD, she was quite heavily in favour of single sex because she was frankly sick of boys messing around in class. There were several options single/coed , state/private.

One of the private all-girls we didn't even bother looking at because we'd heard reports from reliable sources about bullying. It was private school, quite good academically but word was you really had to be a bit of an 'IT' girl to fit in.

DD has just finished year 7 at a girls' grammar school, it suits her perfectly, she says there is not a hint of bullying.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 29-Jul-11 17:19:51

Teacher - yes -DDs school specialises in science and tech, and a large proportion of the girls do extremely well in these subjects (and maths). None of this bollox about 'male' subjects. Contrast with (admittedly a long time ago) my coed school where I was the only girl doing physics, the only girl in my chemistry set and one of two in double maths. (and it was the boys having to try to beat us, for the record - I've no truck with the sexist line about boys 'pushing' girls in these subjects! grin)

IslaValargeone Fri 29-Jul-11 17:31:49

Thanks for all the input.
There might be a slight change in our circumstances now, and there is a possibility of a single sex grammar rather than having to pay, which would be great as it means we could eat as well!

fivecandles Sat 30-Jul-11 09:06:44

In single sex schools girls are more likely to take stereotypically 'masculine' subjects i.e maths and science and excel at them.

Milliways, I would be concerned if my daughter came home and said she wanted to be 'top girl' and then wanted to beat the boys with the assumption that boys are superior than girls. Especially given the opposite is true and girls are surpassing boys academically at every level. Please challenge this attitude with her.

In mixed schools I have found the assumption of boys' superiority amongst boys and girls is still rife however much it flies in the face of fact. It is fairly typical of boys to overestimate their ability and girls to underestimate it.

As a teacher I am very happy my girls are in single sex ed (but in a diamond structured school) but I might feel differently if I had boys.

teacherwith2kids Sat 30-Jul-11 09:55:42

Interesting fivecandles, as I am leaning very much towards mixed for DS but would be happy for DD to attend a single sex school 11-16...

Milliways Sat 30-Jul-11 14:16:11

Fivecandles - DD had no illusion that boys were superior - it's just there were 2 incredible mathematicians that were male (often got 100% at all tests) so they were just her target. Similar in science, she struggled with physics but I'm convinced her A* was driven by the fact she wanted to be top. The fact was, her nearest rival was male.

She got 11 A* and her best friend got 8 A* and 3 A's - so they both beat they boys, but a boy beat them both at A levels when he got 5 A grade A levels, an A grade AS + 2 Extended awards (and was rejected by Cambridge sad )

Xenia Sat 30-Jul-11 15:08:57

Every school in the top 10 just about is single sex. All the good girls schools like St Paul's, North London Collegiate etc etc are all 100% female. It speaks for itself. My girls went to school like that which were single sex and did very well.

Erebus Sat 30-Jul-11 18:14:38

Ah, Xenia- but your DCs are exceptional in every way, aren't they? I mean that honestly. Your DCs are all G&T and you have the money to have been able to ensure your DCs have always attended the Best Possible Selective Day Schools. Schools that are SO popular and over subscribed, there'd never be a suggestion of allowing difficult, nasty and nay- 'not achieving to expected level' DCs to remain, of whatever gender.

Thus they are hardly representative.

Your girls would have 'done very well' in a coal mine.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: