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mixed or single sex education - please let me have your thoughts

(22 Posts)
zookeeper Mon 10-Oct-11 18:04:22

I need this week to chose whether to send my 11 year old to a mixed or single sex school. He is, I think rather sensitive and seems to get on better with girls rather than boys. His class tutor, who I trust, tells me he will get on fine wherever he is but I'm not so sure.

Any thoughts are welcome; i am crippled with indecision!

He would prefer to go to the mixed school, by the way, although he is not set against a single sex school either.

troisgarcons Mon 10-Oct-11 18:27:57

It depends on your child.

DS1 = mixed - needed girls to mix with
DS 2 = Boys - total sporty, academic alpha male.
DS3 - will be mixed - yet to decide which one - he's what you would call 'a bit sensitive' as well!

but if you are wondering on educational advantage, girls do better at single sex school, but studies show boys dont make the same level of improvement so it doesnt really matter from an academic level . Choose according to pastoral care. .

I went to an all girls school and it was the bitchiest place on earth.

GnomeDePlume Mon 10-Oct-11 18:29:39

Statistically I believe that boys do better in a mixed school than in a boys school. My simplistic opinion is that society is roughly 50/50 male/female so why separate? By being in a mixed environment IMO boys and girls learn to get on with each other. In the early days they tend to stick to their own sex but as they get older their friendship groups often change. I know that my DD1 (16 in year 11) has a mixed group of friends now.

IMO, especially where students are less conventional, the bigger the school and the wider the spectrum of that school the more likely an individual is to find friends to be a bit different with.

BertieBotts Mon 10-Oct-11 18:33:10

Yes, mixed schools are supposed to be better for boys, single sex better for girls.

zookeeper Mon 10-Oct-11 18:40:33

Thank you everyone - I don't think he's an alpha male type - nor would I want him to be for that matter smile

zookeeper Mon 10-Oct-11 18:42:23

Thank you everyone - I don't think he's an alpha male type - nor would I want him to be for that matter smile

LemonDifficult Mon 10-Oct-11 18:47:28

Co-ed is better for everyone.

I was the first year of co-ed at my school. The two years above (who'd mainly come through from all boys junior schools as well) had a much more significant problem with bullying than our year as a result of no girls (IMO).

In the sixth form, lots of girls arrived from girls-only. Almost every single one had to be checked into meals because of their eating issues. And they all had their make up on before breakfast, etc, etc, put loads of pressure on themselves and that carried on through university.

No results would be worth that to me. It was such a shame. Competent children can cope with the opposite sex.

Grammaticus Mon 10-Oct-11 18:56:15

Well you can only use this as the decider if you are otherwise equally happy with the two schools. We have gone for co-ed for our two boys. It is very normalising and a good school will get the best out of all its kids, no matter their gender. We view it as a plus.

cat64 Mon 10-Oct-11 19:29:50

Message withdrawn

troisgarcons Mon 10-Oct-11 19:33:48

one of our local schools, it's a new one, you might have heard of it =- it's been around for a 100 years of so , Haberdasher Askes - does both! All lessons are single sex, but form period and lunch/break are co-ed. Best of both worlds I think!

happygardening Mon 10-Oct-11 20:29:14

My DS is currently at a single sex independent school I think in the independent sector being single sex does not have detrimental effect on results. His school has a nearly 40% Oxbridge entry. I agree with cat64 don't just look at this aspect of a school look at the whole picture. When we were first looking for a senior school my son thought he preferred the idea of co ed (he was at a co ed prep till 13) but choose his current school because when decisions had to be made of all the other things his school offered outweighed the co ed factor. He has no sisters and there are no female cousins etc but I suppose I hope being co ed till 13 will mean that he doesn't think girls are some sort of alien species!

busymummy3 Mon 10-Oct-11 22:17:51

Now you see the comment "have to have their make up on before breakfast" puzzles me because in my experience girls who go to co-ed schools seem more image conscious and must have the make up on stress about their hair -have to be up at dawn-crack of to straighten it etc and girls in single sex schools dont? or are not as bad

Bossybritches22 Mon 10-Oct-11 22:29:11

"Co-ed is best" ...says who?? For some maybe but not all.

School is not a social club, they can mix outside.

Research has proven the way boys & girls learn is very different. Add peer pressure & hormones into the mix & it can be disastrous!

But the bottom line is what is on offer in your area for YOUR child. Not everyone has a choice but if you do then choose the one where they will be happy, because then they will thrive.

As for make-up & hairdo's there are always those who are interested in it more than others, if they're not out to impress the boys in class it's the boys in the bus queue!!!

bubbles4 Mon 10-Oct-11 22:38:23

"Co-ed is better for everyone. ",not for my dd it wasnt,she is now doing extremely well in an all girls school,and as for applying make up before breakfast,she would be scrubbing it off before lessons if she attended achool like that because they just dont allow it.

LemonDifficult Mon 10-Oct-11 22:54:48

busymummy - no, the co-ed girls were way more relaxed, much as girls who have brothers are instinctively more relaxed around boys than girls from an all female household. The pressure was off - they hadn't been kept away from 'bad/distracting/acting-up/different learning (insert parental reason here)' boys.

Single-sex parents never like it when I tell them about my experience but it was widely discussed by pupils and staff when we were at school. It was clear as day and formed my opinion strongly. I'm very unimpressed by people who talk about hormones versus exam results - what kind of signal is this setting to young girls about women in the work place?

Theas18 Mon 10-Oct-11 23:06:07

Tricky one! We've gone nominally single sex for ours BUT context is all- both schools same site so all travel together on the buses etc plenty of social mixing. Lots of shared music/ drama groups etc joint 6 th from block and some shared lessons in 6 th form to allow smaller subjects to be supported.

By year 6 both my girls were finding boys immature and annoying and were happy to go single sex. Ds didn't much care but wanted lots of rugby which ge got!

Hasn't stopped all the usual mooning around after bf/ gf but keeps it out of the classroom at least lol

StepfordWannabe Mon 10-Oct-11 23:13:27

I think this debate is really strange - it seems to only exist in Britain and Ireland. Nowhere else in Europe (or Russia or America or Australia), apart from some exclusive private schools, does this question even arise. School is as much a preparation for real life as it is about academic achievement and having "girls perform better in single sex schools" as a reason for choosing a school seems ridiculous - does their academic achievements in Uni not matter then? Or their performances in work? At what point are girls considered suitably able to cope with the presence of males in their immediate environment?

cat64 Mon 10-Oct-11 23:22:34

Message withdrawn

Clary Mon 10-Oct-11 23:28:21

Well cat64 as a child I spent 8am to 4.30pm in the company of school peers and as I lived in a small village, that didn't leave me a whole lot of time or opportunity for out-of-school socialising.

I went toa single-sex school and it was not IMHO a good thing in any way. My marvellous O and A level results did not really prepare me for the real world of university and work.

Maybe it's different for boys, I don't know.

silverfrog Mon 10-Oct-11 23:36:11

I don't recognise the descriptions of all-girls schools form those given here either.

I was at one, and it was great. yes, there were some girls in my year who were bitchy; some who tried to have hd make up on from before breakfast; some who were socially awkward around boys. there were also some (like me) who never owre make up; who couldn't give two hoots about boys (at the time); who were relaxed whoever we spoke to - normal cross section of (female) society then.

i completely depends on both the schools in question and the child. eigh up the pros and cons of each school for yuor ds, OP, and see what looks like the better option.

silverfrog Mon 10-Oct-11 23:37:39

oh, and I was at school (especially in my final years there) form before 8am until 9pm - no time for socialising outside at all. it did me no harm whatsoever in terms of relating to the opposite sex at university, or in workplaces etc.

zookeeper Tue 11-Oct-11 07:36:51

thank you for your messages everyone; I'm now dithering about the transport to the chosen school and have started another thread on that! I will be grey by the time he starts!

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