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single sex vs mixed school for tomboy girl

(10 Posts)
hoodiemum Fri 05-Aug-11 11:56:33

Hi there,
I have to make a decision soon on secondary school for my very tomboy girl. We can choose between two decent secondaries, one mixed and one single sex. The single sex one is nearer and gets slightly better results, but value-added results would probably be similar.
My question is: how do highly competitive, assertive, football-obsessed, academic, usually boy-dressing girls get on in secondary? If you have a tomboy who's going/gone through secondary (either single sex or mixed) I'd love to hear from you.
She's done OK at primary socially, but not great. She gets on well with the boys but doesn't quite 'fit' in any of the boy social groups. The same with girls - she's not particularly unpopular but hasn't found any close friends.

Specifically, my concerns are:
- will teenage boys at a mixed school ridicule a tomboy and stop wanting to be friends with her, or will she find it easier socially with boys around?
- Will her competitiveness be a problem at a girls' school where there's (presumably) less banter and competition? She behaves really well at primary school but terribly with out-of-school activity organisers who've lost her respect. She's likely to become the naughty kid in the wrong environment.
- With a bigger pool of girls at secondary, will it be easier to find girls that she has plenty in common with?

Thanks for any advice or thoughts.

aftereight Fri 05-Aug-11 12:01:00

No advice re tomboy girls sorry, but my single-sex girls school was highly competitive, and highly bitchy. Girls who stood out for any reason had a hard time. May just have been my school though. How lovely for your DD that you care enough to really think about which school is best for her, over and above exam results!

titchy Fri 05-Aug-11 12:16:48

I think generally all girls schools tend to be more competetive than mixed, and very bitchy if your face doesn't fit.

teenage girls are a pretty bitchy lot anyway, but I think having boys around tones it down a bit. at least at school...

Jinx1906 Fri 05-Aug-11 14:38:31

Our DD is not really a tomboy, unlike her little sister, but is nevertheless very sporty and competitive. We faced the same problem last year. We have a good single gender school not far from where we live as well as a mixed school which has "sports status". Both schools are more or less on the same level. In the end we looked at the mixed school and spoke to some of the parents. We were happy with what was on offer and therefore we never looked at the all girls school. Another reason for not opting for the all girls school was that girls together can often be bitchy. I think it is good to have some boys to soften things a little. Sometimes you just have to go with your and your child's gut feeling not just results.

Tortu Fri 05-Aug-11 15:19:36

Impossible to say, really. I tend to think that a kid who has no problems in one school will generally have no problems in another- just because I think it depends so much more on the confidence of the child than their surroundings and peers.

We had this concern with a much younger cousin, although there actually wasn't a choice of schools. She was to move from her mixed comp, where she was very happy, to a selective single sex (because her parents moved house). I remember both her and her parents were terrified over the summer holidays, however she completely blossomed and ended up as Head Girl.

She remained a tomboy throughout and when I've worked in single sex schools have always found a group of girls who fit into this category.

Good luck and I hope you're child is happy wherever she goes.

Ticandtac Fri 05-Aug-11 17:22:09

That is true Tortu, but many children are fine at primary and not fine at secondary (not sure if it works the other way too, probably).

I also think that girls are naughtier at single sex schools than they would be in a mixed school where it would be the boys' job to fill that role! Don't know if anyone agrees.

But I think girls will be bitchy anywhere!

senua Fri 05-Aug-11 18:08:05

When you say "football-obsessed" do you mean spectating or playing? Does the single sex school run football teams or is she covered by belonging to a team outside of school?

I know that she is very tomboy now but you won't fall into the trap of labelling her, will you? Some people shed an old identity and re-define themselves when they move to a new situation e.g. Secondary school or University.

I think that KS3 can be pretty horrible for any teenager as try to find out who/what they are, but they usually find like-minded friends by KS4.

Theas18 Sat 06-Aug-11 12:10:15

Umm have you actualy ASKED her what she feels?

MotherOfGirls Sun 07-Aug-11 07:59:42

Are you choosing for this Sep? We debated for ages over single sex v co-ed but when we went to visit individul schools the one we felt most comfortable in was a co-ed school, so we went with that. I feel the staff and pupils and the 'feel' of the school are the most important factors.

dexter73 Wed 10-Aug-11 10:03:26

I wouldn't let the fact that she is a tomboy now sway your decision. There were 2 tomboys at my dd's primary - short hair, dressed in boys clothes, played footy and hung around with the boys. Come year 8 they both had long hair, make-up and even wore skirts! They are now even more girly than some of the other girls.

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