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Considering a girls school: your pros and cons please?

(48 Posts)
FrenchGirl Wed 23-Feb-05 09:22:28

Dd is in year 1, only 11 children in her class, with 8 boys and 3 girls. Dd is very girly, has male friends but would love to have more girl friends. We have invited the girls to play but have never had an invite back yet..... Her best girl friend has moved.
Besides, dd is top of the class academically, loves arty stuff (especially drama), and is not good at sports. Her current school is VERY sporty (secondary school is a top rugby players recruiting school and has army links - gulp), and doesn't value brains as much as I'd like.
I used to be against single sex schools, but have had to think again as several friends have girls at all girls school and are delighted. Dd has visited one and loved it.
So we're considering moving dd to a very good girls school either next year or the year after.
What's your opinion or experience of girls school please????

marialuisa Wed 23-Feb-05 09:38:53

We've had a bit of a change of heart on this one FrenchGirl. DH and I were both miserable in single-sex schools and had the "over my dead body, so unnatural" response but when we move (next term) DD will go to a school that is nominally co-ed from 3-11 an then all girls. That said there will probably only be 6 boys in her year group (2 classes of 12).

The school she is going to seems to have struck the right balance between intensely academic, producing girls with crappy attitude (I'm thinking of a well-known "chain" of girls' schools in particular-have worked in/visited 5 in different parts of the country and be underwhelmed by their senior girls) and the Mallory Towers type establishments which aren't that bothered about academic stuff at all.

Part of the reason for the change of heart is that DD just seems better (even at just 4) at dealing with being in a gaggle of girls. She is more of a "joiner" wheras I'm a bit of an observer really.

I think it does come down to the individual child and the particular school in the end though. It doesn't sound as if the school she currently attends is really he best place for her in the long term, i would take her on a tour of the other schools and see how you all feel.

FrenchGirl Wed 23-Feb-05 09:43:39

thanks marialuisa for an encouraging post! Any of these 'bad' girls schools you know in Bristol by any chance??

moondog Wed 23-Feb-05 09:48:24

My sisters and I went to an all girls boarding school for 7 years apiece. Aside from the boarding issues, I do think girls thrive in an all girls environment, especially ones like your dd. Mixed sex establishments seem to be good for boys, not so great for girls.
My dh says that old girls from my school stick out a mile. Says we are confident and assertive (or maybe just loud mouthed know alls? ) in a way girls from his school never were.

It did us good-we enjoyed the competitive academic atmosphere.

Marina Wed 23-Feb-05 09:50:08

I went to a single sex secondary school and liked it a lot, but it was twinned with a boys' grammar nearby and this made plays and extra-curricular stuff more interesting, I felt (all-girl production of Julius Caesar? no thanks).
For one astonishing moment I thought you might be a parent at ds' school, Frenchgirl! He is in a Year One class of 11, 8 boys and three girls. But our school is definitely not army-linked and I know that the three little girls in ds' class play together a lot out of hours.
Personally I would start asking the School to do a bit of affirmative action. The parents of our girls have discussed the situation in the class with our Head and made their concerns clear. As it happens, a new girl will join in Year 2.
My honest view is that I'd prefer my ds and dd to stay in a mixed primary school, and if I was going to send them to single-sex, do it at 11.
I would certainly never send ds to an all boys' primary - I like the fact that he does a bit of sewing and knitting with his ladyfriends (only boy in their sewing club, apparently).

marialuisa Wed 23-Feb-05 09:58:33

No Frenchgirl, but there is one in Bath! BTW, i think I can guess your DD's school from the descriptions (have friends with kids in Bristol), they have the senior part down as their "if L doesn't pass the other entrance exams" option.

BTW, does the girls' school remind of you 3-day eventing by any chance? If so, my friend teaches English there and loves it. She taught at Lady Eleanor Holles in London (very academic, bit of a hot-house girls' school in London) before but finds that school more "balanced".

FrenchGirl Wed 23-Feb-05 10:00:14

There are 2 girls schools we're considering. Initials are RM and RHS. Either of these?

PinkWebby Wed 23-Feb-05 10:06:56

I went to a girls boarding school and thoroughly enjoyed myself there, as there was no permenant competition with the boys etc. The only thing I have now found 10 years on is that I have no confidence around men, I dont know what to say etc and feel I always make an idiot of myself when I open my mouth. I think that is because other children that go to mixed schools grow up with the male sex so it is second nature.

But saying that because of the all girl environment and the smaller classes I managed to pass all my GCSE's when no one expected me to.

I have considered it for my girls but will wait and see how they get on in primary school first, as I dont want them to go to boarding school, and the only girls schools around here are Grammer ones, so they will have to pass ll plus etc to get in.

Best of luck with your decision, it is a hard one.

Pamina3 Wed 23-Feb-05 10:07:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FrenchGirl Wed 23-Feb-05 10:08:49

What chain is that (sorry to be ignorant....)?

Enid Wed 23-Feb-05 10:13:25

I went to one and loved it. If you like mumsnet surely you'll love the ethos (like Malory Towers )

foxinsocks Wed 23-Feb-05 10:17:26

I went to all girl's schools from about 6 and spent almost the whole time wishing there were boys there!

I know, academically, all girl's schools do better but I found (and I went to 3 different schools) that they can become very bitchy and horrible.

I agree with Marina - the best girl's school I went to had an affiliation with the boy's school across the road so all the drama/music productions were done jointly. It's much more fun that way!

I don't really have anything against all girl's schools and may consider one for dd for secondary but I wouldn't consider it ahead of a good mixed one.

iota Wed 23-Feb-05 10:17:50

I was a day-girl at an all girl day and boarding school. Academically it was very good and had strong behavioural standards, so I learnt a lot and came out with a fine set of exam results.

Socially I went to a mixed youth club and also had an older brother, so plenty of scope to get to know boys

So a yes vote from me as long as it's a good school.

BTW I would have hated to be a boarder

bundle Wed 23-Feb-05 10:18:56

a good friend of mine is about to send her dd to a single sex secondary school,they live near farnham and it's her first choice because of the type of things her dd likes to do and she believes she'll get better academic results there too

iota Wed 23-Feb-05 10:19:25

forgot- my school had links with 2 local boys scholl and did joint stuff with them too

Issymum Wed 23-Feb-05 10:20:03

Oooh Frenchgirl - I went to RHS! That is of course a completely useless piece of information as it's very much changed in the [gulp] twenty odd years since I left. It was something of an academic hothouse when I went, but seems to have become much more balanced since then.

I loved the school (all girls) and was very happy there, but there was a slightly odd atmosphere with just 2 male teachers and a lot of spinster teachers for whom the school was pretty much their life making them a little less than balanced in their approach. I suspect things have radically changed since then.

marialuisa Wed 23-Feb-05 10:23:03

No Frenchgirl, it's neither of those.

At the risk of offending lots of MNers (because I know at least one lovely MNer is a veteran of one of the schools in the chain!) I mean the GDST. My impression is based on working with senior girls (they were participants in a research project I worked on) and looking round for my own DD. In fairness I think there are about 30 schools in total but I've been struck by the similarity in attitude of the senior girls despite the schools being in very different parts of the country and having very different intakes (from one where the intake is seriously privileged to one where a charity will pay fees for girls from poorer backgrounds so has a really mixed intake). Very arrogant, rude and surprisingly inarticulate young women.

But I'm sure lots of people have/know perfectly charming girls/women who have been through other
"branches" of the chain.

FrenchGirl Wed 23-Feb-05 10:23:35

dd would not be boarding, I couldn't bear that! One of the schools we're considering does have debates with boys from another school, which I think is brilliant for confidence building, and has parties to which they invite the boys from that school too, so there is scope to get to know boys which I agree is important.
thanks for all your posts so far, it's great to get all these positive responses, and the negative ones are making me think a bit harder! Very useful, keep it coming!

FrenchGirl Wed 23-Feb-05 10:26:02

ooohh Issymum, that's amazing! we're going there next week to have a look, so I'll keep you posted on what we thought. Are you in touch with any old girls?

foxinsocks Wed 23-Feb-05 10:29:10

to be honest Frenchgirl, although dd does do work in the classroom with the boys in her class and sometimes plays in the playground with them, almost all of her closest friends and the ones she feels most comfortable with are girls.

I didn't have any brothers (3 girls) which is why I think I felt a lack of male input! I think doing joint things with the boys school is great and a real positive point for the school (just read back my other post and realised the appalling apostrophe use - sorry!)

CountessDracula Wed 23-Feb-05 10:33:35

I was at girl's school from 6 - 16 and loved it. I wasn't a boarder (other than v occasionally eg when my parents went to Australia for a few weeks) and I think that helped as I had plenty of friends outside school too.

We did a lot with the local boy's school too. In a way it made boys much more interesting as you didn't have them rammed down your throat all day. I would have no hesitation at sending dd to one, though she won't be for primary if she gets into the local one as it is mixed.

lockets Wed 23-Feb-05 10:33:36

Message withdrawn

FrenchGirl Wed 23-Feb-05 10:38:27

I really expected a lot more negative feedback, am quite shocked (and delighted) by these positive experiences!!!!
Another point though: a mum at dd's current school (she has a ds), when I mentioned this to her said: oh dear, apparently girls who go to all girls school have a very high rate of dropping out of Uni, it's a new survey I've seen. That's all she said and I felt really cross that this was her only commentary! What do you think of it, is it total rubbish?

Frizbe Wed 23-Feb-05 10:43:12

differentschooling thought you might like to look at this, although a long way off! have a friend who teaches there, its certainly a different way of doing things! (grades are just below national GCSE average for 2004 tho? but then its not all about grades is it?)

Issymum Wed 23-Feb-05 10:45:49

Hi Frenchgirl: Yes I'm still in touch with a few of the old girls and have been to a couple of reunions. They appear to be a relentlessly sensible and well-balanced group!

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