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Single sex primary schools - good or bad idea?

(20 Posts)
dueinnovember Mon 02-Feb-09 09:07:04

I'm hoping to send my daughters to a girls secondary school, however the school in my local area also has a primary school attached. Does anyone have any experience of single sex primary education? I'm a strong believer in the benefits of single sex secondary education (or is it just that I'm happy with the school I attended) but I don't know if there are any advantages/diadvantages at primary age, apart from already having some friends who will move up with her. If any MN's have any experience or opinions please tell me. Thanks

spoiltforchoice Mon 02-Feb-09 09:18:55

Don't know (went co-ed primary myself), but am facing the same choice so will listen in with interest. smile

MrsBadger Mon 02-Feb-09 09:22:24

bad idea IMO unless she has brothers and/or you can guarantee she will socialise with boys out of school (cubs, scouts etc)

otherwise she may find herself leaving school at 18 having barely spoken to a boy in her life
this is not healthy

I can see the point of single sex secondary schools when it comes to academic achievement (though all-girls schools are often terrifyingly cliquey, bitchy places) but segregating earlier is a bad idea IMO.

julesrose Mon 02-Feb-09 09:23:14

I went to co-ed schools and don't really understand the point of dividing our society on the basis of gender.

melissa75 Mon 02-Feb-09 10:08:51

hi dueinnovember...I am only going to speak from personal experience...I went to a all girls school from the age of 8-14 and I hated every single minute of it. The other girls were cliquey and mean. I know of other girls who have been in same sex schools and experienced the same thing. I think it really depends on the personality of the pupil...if they are able to handle it and the constant competitive nature of the situation, then they will thrive. IMO I would never put my own child into a same sex school, but thats based on my own personal experience, perhaps others have had more positive experiences. Good luck in your decision!

CharleeinChains Mon 02-Feb-09 10:11:52

I went to both for primary and secondary, mixed school so much better imo.

You need to socialise the sexes otherwise when hormones hit they become wilder than normal and boys seem a bit of a mystery.

I hates my single sex schools, girls when they are alone are very bitchy and catty i was bullied from day one as i was to low in the pecking order.

MollieO Mon 02-Feb-09 10:43:50

My ds is at a single sex school but has what is called a 'co-ordinated' education. His school is part of 3 schools - boys 4-11, boys 11-16, girls 4-16 and co ed sixth form. Means that he does some school activities with the girls although they are on separate sites.

Single sex wasn't my ideal choice but I didn't like the co-ed school/head and really liked the atmosphere and ethos of the single sex school as well as the fab head. My ds is very happy even though his best friend at nursery was a girl. I like the fact that they understand how boys are - need lots of running around etc. They also do fun lessons like building dens in the woods and getting muddy.

dueinnovember Mon 02-Feb-09 11:17:07

Hi MollieO - is your boy is the primary school or the secondary? Your school sounds ideal but there isn't any corresponding boys only school here. Have figured out that if we take the single sex route we will have to ensure we have lots of things going on outside school that are not girlie. I went to a co-ed primary and girls secondary school but did lots of sports outside school from an early age so mixed with plenty of boys. It was really common in the town where I lived to have single-sex secondary education. The primary school looked lovely and I know my daughters would enjoy it, however my concern as a parent is that they don't grow up to be wierd (or too wierd smile) and unable to talk to boys. I don't know what difference mixing with boys between 5 and 11 makes.

MollieO Mon 02-Feb-09 11:36:47

He is in primary - reception. When he is old enough to go on proper school trips he will do this with the girls school. He also goes to after school care and holiday club which is shared with the girls school. I'm not concerned about the mixing with girls thing at this stage at all. I had a friend who left my grammar school to go to a girls only boarding school and she had regular socials with the local boys boarding school. She didn't turn out weird at all! I think it depends on the child. I was very keen to go to single sex grammar but it was vetoed by my dad. Never found out why until recently (he died years ago) my mum said it was because the co ed school was nearer and therefore 'safer'. Bizzare grounds imo and actually not true at all.

I really think it depends on your child. For my ds I know it was the right decision and he is thriving there. In fact he was disappointed that school was cancelled today!

LadyMuck Mon 02-Feb-09 12:01:27

I think that our London borough is the only one left with single sex primary state schools.

The dcs are at a single-sex primary school. It suits ds1 down to the ground. Topics, activities, library all suited to boys. Many of the brothers have siblings at single sex girls schools. From what I can see many boys tend toward same sex friendships at this stage anyway. The boys certainly see girls out of school eg at swimming club, church etc, but even there the boys and girls tend towards same-sex relationships (incl children who are at co-ed schools with each other).

Ultimately I think that it depends on how you feel about the school though. I didn't choose this school because it was singlesex, but because I felt that it best suited my dcs from the local schools available. The benefits for me are that it is a very positive environment for boys (the cleverest children are boys, the ones with the neatest handwriting are boys, the tallest and shortest are boys, you get the drift).

Kwini Mon 02-Feb-09 20:16:20

I attended co-ed primary schools and an all-girls secondary. I'm a firm believer in the importance of mixing the sexes when they're young, and separating when older (I think that girls, in particular, do better in single-sex high schools - the atmosphere is a lot more concentrated and constructive, and they have the freedom to be themselves; my partner teachers at a mixed boarding school, and I've been horrified at how little confidence the girls have when the boys are around).

That said, plenty of the girls at my school had been in single-sex ed from kindergarten up, and none of them had any trouble adapting to the "real" world - made loads of male friends at uni, developed good relationships, have plenty of confidence, etc. If the school's good, I'd say that's the most important thing.

bloss Mon 02-Feb-09 20:27:19

Message withdrawn

RockinSockBunnies Mon 02-Feb-09 21:21:11

I'd be cautious about single-sex all the way through. I went to an all girls' school from 5-18 and hated it. It wasn't too bad at primary level, but things became progressively more bitchy at secondary level.

I'm an only child and had no male friends outside of school, with the consequence that I had no idea how to talk to boys, have them as friends etc. For me, they were there simply for sex! It's taken me a good few years to begin to remedy the situation.

bloss Mon 02-Feb-09 22:37:05

Message withdrawn

piscesmoon Tue 03-Feb-09 07:52:28

I think that it is a bad idea unless she has a lot of daily contact with boys. I went to both a mixed and single sexed secondary and much prefered the mixed. They were sex mad at the girl's grammar! It was also more bitchy.

bloss Tue 03-Feb-09 14:51:39

Message withdrawn

scarletlilybug Tue 03-Feb-09 15:07:44

I think evidence suggets that girls tend to do better in a single sex environment.

DD1 has just moved from a co-ed to a gilrs school, and couldn't be happier. No distracting "silly, naughty" boys, for one thing (her words, not mine). Playground not dominated by football games, whilst the girls are left to play around the edges.

piscesmoon Tue 03-Feb-09 15:38:26

They might do better, the one in our town comes way up the league table, but it is also the one with a bullying problem.

dueinnovember Tue 03-Feb-09 18:41:06

Thanks for all your experiences, I think personality wise they'd get on ok and the school itself seemed warm and welcoming so I think we'll go for it. I guess as parents we need to help them grow up well so will just have try to give them a balance in everything they do outside school. If it doesn't work out they can go to a different secondary. Although if we have a 3rd DC and it turns out to be a boy I don't know how we'll feel about our choice then as I'd love another one of either sex.

piscesmoon Tue 03-Feb-09 22:18:04

I think that you need to go with your gut feeling-if you ask you will always get the conflicting advice!

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