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single sex education : arguments in favour of?

(134 Posts)
mumat39 Mon 16-Apr-12 14:42:55

Sorry, I'm blatantly copying the heading from another (excellent) post.

Just wondering for those of you that chose this route, why you did?

Many Thanks in advance.

Maccapaccawacca Mon 16-Apr-12 14:45:46

FWIW I was single-sex educated and I would definitely prefer this for DS, given the option. Can't say why for sure but I think it helps concentration weak reasoning
I think, with plenty of out-of-school activities there is no problem in socilaising with the opposite sex etc.
Be interested to hear other opinions.

seeker Mon 16-Apr-12 14:51:47

Because my dd was adamant. I was very opposed to the idea, but decided it wasn't me who was going to school.

BackforGood Mon 16-Apr-12 15:05:47

My ds is in Yr11 at a boys school and my dd is in Yr8 at a girls school.
I didn't feel strongly one way or another about single sex vs co-ed, but, interestingly, they were by far the best option open to us at the time of applying. Now, I don't know if that's despite or because of them being single sex, but I've been very impressed (particualrly with ds, who is shall we say more challenging) at the way the school has suited him and worked with us and encouraged him. Despite not being one to do school work, he actually really likes his school grin - no bad thing in a lad of his age.

icancount Tue 17-Apr-12 17:21:03

Have ds at boys prep and dd starting at girls prep in sept.

When ds started (y4) single sex wasn't the reason we chose the school.

I think if you have a 'boyish' boy, or 'girly' girl, they are great.

The boys seem to have few inhibitions when it comes to singing and dancing. I'm sure if girls were there, they would be more reserved. Also, the work is aimed towards boys typical interests. Loads of sport and play times, and lots of clubs aimed towards boys.
We are not worried about interaction with girls, as he gets that at home
Ds likes the lack of kiss-chase at play time too!!

follygirl Tue 17-Apr-12 19:30:06

My dc (one of each) go to single sex schools. Although both my dh and I were educated in single sex schools I would not choose a single sex school over a co-ed one if I thought that my dc suited the co-ed one.

As it happens my dd's school is highly academic and suits her. My ds' school is not academic and much more laid back which suits my ds. They do an hour of sport each day and I feel as if it is the best environment for boys.

I would perhaps be a bit concerned if I had just girls or boys but as I have both they spend a lot of time with the other sex outside of school so it's not as if they don't know how to behave.

It is likely that they will stay in single sex education at secondary school but again this could change if I thought a co-ed one would be better.

happygardening Wed 18-Apr-12 08:02:15

My DS is at a single sex full boarding only school. The vast majority of teachers are men and as they say they understand boys. I think it good for teenage boys everything is geared up for them. He was at a mixed boarding prep until he was 13yrs old although we didn't deliberately choose it this way I'm glad he has spent his early years with girls as he has no sisters, girls cousins etc and by chance none of is friends have sisters of his sort of age either!

xmyboys Wed 18-Apr-12 08:11:33

I loooove single sex schools. 2 ds in one.
Sport focused on boys. Extra outside time, regardless of weather.
Focus is on boys and their needs.
All subjects catered for.
We will do more outside of school mixed things to help with socialisation.
Love it grin

seeker Wed 18-Apr-12 09:24:27

Absolutely. Because of course girls need to concentrate on their needlework and keep inside out of the nasty wet rain- it might make their hair all messy. hmm

Colleger Wed 18-Apr-12 09:35:27

I have had one child at single sex all the way through (different schools) and one in co-ed apart from two periods when he was in single sex. The atmosphere at single sex is much nicer. Boys tend not to become as pack like because they don't need to be the alpha male amongst the girls. There has definitely been much more bullying from girls and boys at the co-ed school and academic attainments are generally lower, especially for the boys. The teachers seem to be biased towards well behaved girls rather than loving boys with all their quirks/foibles.

The son at an all boys school is very confident and self-assured. My other son is fairly insecure especially about how he looks. He actually has a lot more going for him than his brother but the atmosphere, competition and focus on image and "coolness" at the co-ed schools has meant that his esteem is lower.

The myth hat boys schools are rowdy is unfounded. I'd say it's been the opposite and my genteel, non-sporty, risk-averse son has been allowed to be himself, is popular and has been given huge responsibility within his schools.

No idea about girls!

huptwothree Wed 18-Apr-12 09:36:47

Girls do much better academically in single sex education.

moonbells Wed 18-Apr-12 11:47:55

I went to mixed primary, and then mixed secondary for 2 years before transferring to single-sex.

Plus points of the mixed secondary over the single sex: full range of subjects so not limited by someone else's outdated idea of what little gels should study

Plus points of the single sex: no throwing us out of school building at breaks (with doors locked behind us!) so could go to library and read or sit in form rooms and chat
No forced outdoor games (anathema to some of us girls, heaven for boys!)
No snarky comments from teachers in reports about girls studying sciences (though no facilities for metal/woodwork or tech drawing - see mixed sec plus point!) and encouragement across the board.
No girls dressing-up to show off for boys
No boys showing off in front of girls
No bullying when a girl wants to sit near the front in 'boy territory'
Lessons taught in a way that girls respond to

I suspect you need to reverse most of the points to get the advantages for boys in a boys school!

fivecandles Wed 18-Apr-12 16:48:31

I think paradoxically you get less stereotyping in single sex schools especially for girls. There is no assumption that because you are female you are less likely to do or be good at science (and girls are more likely to take up subjects that are conventionally perceived to be 'unfeminine' in single sex schools). There is an expectation that you will do your best as an individual rather than as a girl or in relation to boys.

I also think although much has changed in terms of opportunities for girls there is still an awful lot of sexism in society and that girls have to deal with some truly appalling attitudes on a day to day basis from boys in co-ed. I'd rather my girls didn't have to deal with that.

As a teacher and I'm sure I've read research that backs this up boys are more likely to overestimate their ability and girls to underestimate it. I have a class of GCSE re-sits at the moment (boy heavy which is typical) and I feel sorry for the girls because we all have to endure the boys boasting all the time about their abilities (when they rarely put their money where their mouth is) while the girls quietly get on with the work. I'm glad my own girls don't have to deal with this. It's maddening.

BackforGood Wed 18-Apr-12 20:34:40

Seeker - I realise you are being sarky in response to someone posting about their ds's school suiting them, but just in case everyone doesn't, I thought I'd point out that 2 all girls (state) schools I know of around here have (or had - not sure where the funding is with this at the moment) specialisms in sports. It's certainly not avoiding outdoor PE IME.
I agree with colleger's point too - I think generally pupils can be more relaxed at a single sex school as they don't go through that phase of preening for the opposite sex instead of thinking about school work during school hours.
moonbells - I'm not sure if you were at school a loooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnngggg time ago or if your school was massively outdated ?
- I went to a girls school in the 70s, where I think we had a pretty full range of subjects (indeed, as did my brother at his all boys school).
- Everyone did have to do whatever PE they were timetabled to do, yup, even if it was outside and it was cold or drizzly.
- I don't know what you mean about sarky comments re studying science ? confused We were all expected to do 3 sep sciences up to O-levels, and plenty did A-levels too.
I absolutely agree with fivecandles first paragraph - I think that is one of the main advantages of girls attending a girls school - but I also think a lot of that comes from home too (speaks as the daughter of only girl in the maths A-level class in the 1940s at my Mum's school).
I've never felt I couldn't do something because I was a girl, and it's difficult to know how much of that comes from home and what comes from school.

Oops blush rather long post, sorry!

moonbells Thu 19-Apr-12 11:51:28

BackforGood I was at the mixed 79-81 and the girls' 81-86.

It was just the metal and woodwork and tech drawing that weren't at the girls and I adored them (hated cookery and art!) but then I ended up a scientist so liked things which needed to be exact! But still miffed back then that it wasn't considered suitable for girls.

We had to do Games, just we had the option of doing things like Badminton inside. I spent a happy year going to the local squash courts to play there. I was also on the hockey team so I wasn't entirely outdoor-phobic! But our pitches were a 15 min bus ride from the school (with only an unheated changing room and no showers etc) so if it rained, we didn't go as the bus company objected to the mud levels on the return trip! At least tennis and netball were on the hard courts behind the classrooms.

On the snarky comments on the mixed school's science: I was the girl sitting at the front, the only one seemingly interested. I got comments from one (male) science teacher about being an odd duck as the other girls were more interested in talking or music. The teacher we had in the other year I spent there (also male) said I'd do well in the subjects so it was definitely the first teacher's problem. When I got to the single sex school it was such a relief, we could study sciences to our heart's content (so I did).

Colleger Thu 19-Apr-12 15:39:06

The best thing about boys schools? No hideous girls! grin

happygardening Thu 19-Apr-12 20:08:46

There speaks the mother of boys!

Colleger Thu 19-Apr-12 20:12:30

Well I was getting fed up listening to how I'll done to girls are with boys and their awful behaviour!

happygardening Thu 19-Apr-12 21:21:28

Couldn't agree more I was talking to a matron of a boys boarding house the other day she was saying how much easier the boys are. Apparently you have to be so careful what you say to girls; they take everything you say so seriously.

xmyboys Fri 20-Apr-12 10:11:09

Boys rock

happygardening Fri 20-Apr-12 10:25:30

This is why single sex in so good for boys none of that boy hostility that exists is mixed schools. One has to assume that staff work in boys school because they like them.

Tinwe Fri 20-Apr-12 10:56:00

I went to a mixed primary school and a single sex secondary. Up until my move I was advised I was "ok" at English and so might make a living writing for a magazine or similar. Otherwise, nothing special, mainly chattering at the back of class.

At the end of my first year in a single sex school I was receiving prizes (both in school and external) for science and maths as well as English! I went on to get a science degree and a second degree in a health subject. I truly believe that I would have followed my sister (co-ed in secondary) in being a full time housewife with few qualifications had I not moved to single sex ed.

I remember trying to contribute to science lessons in mixed ed but being repeatedly beaten to it by bright and more confident boys and so giving up. I know women who have done well in despite mixed classes too though, so I suppose it is down to the individual.

startail Fri 20-Apr-12 11:11:33

I doubt a teacher would last 30 sec if he made snide comments about a girl in a science class today.
Mine didn't dare 30 years ago. I think my physics master thought a few, but he couldn't stand most of the boys eitherwink

moonbells Fri 20-Apr-12 14:04:44

Oh, I'm sure they wouldn't last these days! But there was still some deep-rooted prejudice about women's suitability to do certain subjects back then, from men and women teachers.

The geog. teacher once said to me that one more brain cell and I'd be a plant.

Mind you, a lot of my old reports have barbs in them, probably calculated to get me to pull my socks up a bit.

happygardening Fri 20-Apr-12 14:43:34

I personally think now there is more hostility towards boys especially at primary level and this is born out by the fact that regardless of what government we have boys in the state sector under perform. Most schoenberg seem to want nice c

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