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(13 Posts)
mathanxiety Sat 24-Nov-12 20:05:27

Teachers at all-girls schools tend to know what nasty little beasts they can be and in my experience deal with bullying in a more aggressive and understanding way.

In a strange way I think that is an issue but only because I think teachers in boys' schools do not deal with bullying particularly well. Aggression is discouraged in girls while dog eat dog culture is subtly encouraged in a community of boys.

mathanxiety Sat 24-Nov-12 20:00:07

I think it's good for girls to learn to assert themselves in a classroom and socially. They are going to be living in a world of pushy men after all, and will need to learn how to come out ahead.

The DCs have always been at co-ed schools and all have done well so far. My DDs are by no means shrinking violets. I have fond memories of DD1 coming home one day and muttering 'God how I hate Wilson Ho'; just recently DD2 came home and said pretty much the same thing about a 'Jack C'. They learn to deal with the bombast that bright and confident teenage boys tend to throw around in classrooms (teenage boys who are bright and full of themselves are just as much pains in the bum as disengaged teenage boys playing up for attention) and they rejoice when teachers dish out comeuppance. DS was always a bit cowed by his sisters but came through it all pretty well. He is now doing a very male dominated subject at university.

I went to an all girls primary school and co-ed secondary.

It's how you are encouraged to interact with the opposite sex or even the same sex at home that matters. If parents intervene in every dispute and doesn't expect children to sort out their own squabbles, including fisticuffs, or don't provide ample opportunities for boys and girls to get together and work or socialise and do not model healthy and robust friendships or relationships themselves, school is not going to be of much help.

Pyrrah Wed 21-Nov-12 23:41:40

I was also at all-girls, all-boys (I and one other were the first to go through the school, 5 others in lower years - now fully co-ed) and co-ed. I was also a day student at a day school, a day student at a mainly boarding school and a boarder at a 50/50 day boarding, so have pretty much covered all bases.

We are only looking at all-girls for DD for secondary.

Some are personal reasons - DD is being investigated fro growth hormone deficiency, she already has a growth delay which will increase even if it turns out that the GH is okay. As a result she is both small and very likely to enter puberty significantly later than her peers (17 or so) unless we medically intervene. Having reached puberty late myself I know that it was very hard in a co-ed school where my peers had boobs and boyfriends and I still looked like a primary schooler at 15. Obviously you get the same at all-girls, but it's not the kind of meat-market that a co-ed is where you are watching (and being left out of) the flirting and relationship side within the school.

Teachers at all-girls schools tend to know what nasty little beasts they can be and in my experience deal with bullying in a more aggressive and understanding way.

Academically I think it is better for the sexes to learn separately.

If we had a son I would probably be looking more at co-ed, which I know is a bit hypocritical!

trinity0097 Mon 19-Nov-12 17:07:19

I write from the slightly weird experience of having been educated in an all boys school, an all girls school and a co-ed school (I am female and always have been, I was just the only girl in the boys school). I have also taught in an all boys school, co-ed schools and single sex classes in co-ed schools.

My personal recommendation would be for children to be taught (for my subject, maths) in single sex classes in a co-ed school.

However if it comes down to what we do have available, I would plump for co-ed as children need to realise that everything else in life is mixed sex and they need to be able to communicate with and get along with everyone. However if a local co-ed school was rubbish and a single sex school was good I'd go for the single sex - just the gender of the pupils is not a big enough factor to be the only factor.

happygardening Mon 19-Nov-12 11:21:27

milkshake again this come down to the individual school an even the individual HM's. No child should push in front of another, although as I write I remember being allowed to do this in my coed school when in the 6th form [embarrassed]. These of course are the things that we don't find out when reading websites or attending open day.

milkshake3 Mon 19-Nov-12 10:20:25

I think the boys mix HG, and this is a boarding school, it's just that the older ones remind the younger ones of their place in the pecking order. eg. older ones allowed to push in front of the younger ones in the lunch queue - sounds innocent enough until a friend of mine DS returned home looking thin and told her that he had basically given up eating lunch because he was always pushed to the back of the line. It's a small thing but rather unnecessary in this day and age....

ReallyTired - agree with comment about social skills (although obviously a huge generalisation). One school we visited has the downside of being on a campus, not near a town, single sex....all a recipe for living in a bubble, but probably doing well academically as there are no distractions. Other people may view that as an's all so personal.

happygardening Mon 19-Nov-12 09:42:28

milshake interesting perhaps its different at boarding school who form a very close knit communities or as with everything else depends on the individual school/house but I've found my DS who's admittedly rather grown up mixes with all year groups including 6th form.

milkshake3 Mon 19-Nov-12 09:24:57

HG - I meant hierarchical between year groups - that was how a school was described to me by a shell boy when we looked round it "not bullying but it is quite hierarchical between the year groups" were his words. Our prep school Head thinks boys do need to be more resilient at single sex schools for this reason - and that suits many of them. Agree that it is an individual decision depending on boy, family and school under consideration.

ReallyTired Mon 19-Nov-12 09:21:50

A single sex school may well get better academic results at the expense of social skills. Girls schools can be specularly bitchy places and often boys from boys schools are exceptionally immature. (certainly the ones I met from uni.)

We don't have single sex workplaces so why have single sex schools.

happygardening Mon 19-Nov-12 09:16:03

From my experience boys schools cater for boys (it sounds obvious) having worked in coed I can see the difference. milkshake is right they probably are more "intense" "testosterone-y" don't know if this is good or bad I suppose it depends on the individual and maybe boys at boys schools have to be more resilient but maybe this depends on the individual school. Im not sure if she means "hierarchical" in terms of heads, teachers, boys or between the boys themselves but I think boys often form hierarchical packs. At boarding schools most boys mix with girls in lessons etc but spend their free time particularly when younger in single sex boarding houses.
You could change at 6th form to coed many schools like Westminster/Charterhouse are coed in the 6th form.

milkshake3 Mon 19-Nov-12 08:57:19

By highest achieving I assume you mean highest in terms of exam results? Surely that just reflects selectivity at intake, and has less to do with co-ed vs single sex? Top of the league table schools tend to be single sex because they are the most selective on intake, whether you are thinking St Pauls/Wycombe Abbey/Winchester or Grammar school.

I think single sex vs co-ed is a more fundamental question and only you can answer it relative to your child. There are pros and cons to both sides.(Not helpful, sorry - and it is something we are grappling with for DS1). We have found that the atmosphere at a single sex is more intense (more testosterone-y at a boys school and that the school is more hierarchical). This tends to get dissipated in a coed school, although then you have the more immediate distraction issues instead.

What schools are you looking at?

happygardening Mon 19-Nov-12 08:02:24

I think its just one of many factors you need to take into consideration. Life isn't all school especially if your considering a day school. Will he do activities outside of school? Is he at a coed prep? And if yes is he awkward around girls no or just immature? Does he have sisters girl cousins are your neighbours girls? Would he have to travel further to coed? If you found a perfect boys school meeting all your need in every other way then surely its better to send him there and if you really think it's a significant issue engineer activities out of school with girls.

joanbyers Sun 18-Nov-12 22:47:44

What do we think?

I've heard it said that boys benefit at co-ed because they get to monopolise the teachers attention relative to the girls, and girls, don't.

However pretty much all the very highest achieving schools are single-sex.

DS's EP reckons he'd be better off in a co-ed school, so he doesn't grow up too awkward about how to talk to girls....

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