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Girls school vs. mixed? Which would you choose?

(140 Posts)
MothershipG Fri 05-Oct-12 07:12:21

I went to a girls school and feel I did better than I would have done in a mixed school, although as there is only one of me I obviously have no way of proving this!

My DD is in Yr6 and has the choice of single-sexed or mixed.

If we count other factors as equal which would you choose?

trinity0097 Fri 05-Oct-12 07:40:35

Having been educated in a girls school I would say mixed, for the social aspects, boys were a mystery to me and I had no experience of interacting with them until university!

usualsuspect3 Fri 05-Oct-12 07:41:26

I would always choose a mixed school.

Shinyshoes1 Fri 05-Oct-12 07:42:25

Single sex

I went to one
both my boys go to one
I will send my dughter to one

MothershipG Fri 05-Oct-12 07:47:30

trinity She has a brother at home and the consequent continuous exposure to boys! So I don't see why she would need them at school as well. wink

Like you, I wasn't used to boys in work environment until I went to Uni either, it didn't take long to adjust.

usual Would you mind saying why?

Shiney as above grin

I think it depends on the quality of schools and your DDs personality tbh. I remember reading all the sociological studies showing that girls do better in single sex settings (something about boys taking a disproportionate amount of teaching time even when teachers actively try to be fair and equal) but a good mixed school will always be better than a poor single sex school and those studies are all old anyway smile

Given the choice of schools around here I'd prefer my DD to go to the mixed school her brothers go to, but my second and third choices would be single sex.

SoupDragon Fri 05-Oct-12 07:53:21

I would probably choose single sex simply because her brothers ended up at a single sex school. DSs school is now co-ed in the 6th form which is good I think.

I went to a mixed school and it was fine. Part of me thinks that maybe single sex schools mean that they get to have the teaching that seems to work for each sex rather than on-size-fits-all. Provided there is good socialising with both sexes outside of school.

However, the schools round her are (generally) not equal with the single sex schools tending to be the better performing ones.

lljkk Fri 05-Oct-12 07:54:34

This is a real situation for us, DD loved an All Girls school we saw the other day (not suitable in other respects, though).

I would choose Mixed, I don't like idea of DD being socially isolated from any main element of society. She has three brothers at home, but it's not the same as peer mixing.
DD herself would choose all girls, I reckon, and I would let her make that choice if truly every other factor were identical.

Why is single sex for boys supposed to be so great? I would have thought it would lead to too much boyness, bad especially for boys who are calmer & softer. DD is a show-off feisty girl, by the way, I already send her to Guides to give her one all-girl environment. That's 1.5 hours/week,though, not 30+ hours.

According to those same studies, it's not - boys allegedly do better in mixed schools, girls do better in single sex. There's no real solution although I quite liked the schools (can't remember which ones, sorry) that were both - they were mixed but had single sex lessons for certain subjects (maths and sciences iirc)

Pourquoimoi Fri 05-Oct-12 08:03:24

Having been to an all girls, I would send my children to single sex schools if I could. There aren't any round here though...

My single sex school was opposite the boys grammar and we interacted at the bus stop! I felt the learning was better without worrying about boys, although three boys came over to our school for one of my A level subjects which nut have been daunting for them!

Pochemuchka Fri 05-Oct-12 08:05:21

I went to an all girls school and I'd say if the mixed schools are good in your area send her there.
I really didn't enjoy the single sex environment and there was a lot of insidious bullying - this was at a supposedly excellent girls' grammar school too.
I've also taught in single sex and mixed schools at secondary where I found if they were good schools there wasn't much difference in behaviour between the boys and the girls.
I ruled out an excellent primary school for DD on the basis it was single sex but now they're taking boys I'll reconsider.

dippywhentired Fri 05-Oct-12 08:05:44

I think it depends on the child. I went to a girls' school - I was very shy, hated being a teenager with braces, spots, etc. and if I'd had boys in my class, I think I'd have found it even harder. Mixed at 6th form might have been a good idea, but I soon adjusted at university and actually had more male friends there than female.

margerykemp Fri 05-Oct-12 08:08:47

Single sex

Bossybritches22 Fri 05-Oct-12 08:10:39

Single sex - they learn in different ways & school is for education, time enough for socialising going to & from school and at weekends/evenings.

Focus' the mind a bit I think but that's just me with 2 DD's who are perfectly happy socialising with anyone of either sex but fo well at school too.

Queenofsiburbia Fri 05-Oct-12 08:14:22

I went to both. Was very unhappy at mixed school so parents moved me to girls school. Much happier there, we were able to grow up more slowly plus the focus was really on school work, sports etc rather than on boys. by the time of 6th form there were events dances etc arranged with boys schools & most people had a boyfriend but better then that at 14.

I would definitely send girls to single sex school because, as well as my own experience, they statistically get better results than at mixed schools. Boys on other hand, benefit academically from girls being around.

FairPhyllis Fri 05-Oct-12 08:16:57

Single sex - OP, read the thread on Physics education on the Feminism board.

FunnyBird Fri 05-Oct-12 08:17:39

If she's interested in sciences or other traditional boys' subjects, I would say single sex. It is less likely to occur that she shouldn't be doing science if all the other people around her are also girls, but harder to persevere in an A-level group where she is the only girl. I think that's what I got out of single sex schooling. Went on to study engineering.

lljkk Fri 05-Oct-12 08:19:34

That's what I suspected. sad

I bumped into friend the other day (she has only-child DD who just started y7 at elite girls school we also looked at for DD). She is a teacher herself (MFL in mixed comp) & she enthused about how great single sex ed was, but really I thought she just meant great for girls because all she could say was how behind boys are compared to girls. A sniff of elitism at a personal level in anything tends to put me off & so it was with her words.

Friend said that girls are easily discouraged in mixed schools by comments like "Girls can't do math" "Girls can't do science": I almost laughed. For DD those comments would be a challenge to prove the speaker wrong. Do I really have such an unusually feisty girl?

The elite girl school we had had poor facilities for long distance running (DD's best sport). I wonder if a mixed or boy schools tend to have much bigger fields?

I worry about girl-only school promoting & supporting especially "girl" interests too strongly, just because that's where the girls interests tend to lie (wider societal pressures if nought else). Like textiles, gym, lacrosse, field hockey, art, drama, dance. My girl can outrun perhaps every boy in her school, she needs boys around to give her any competition.

MothershipG Fri 05-Oct-12 08:25:34

So far girls school seem to be coming out ahead, having no personal experience of a mixed school I am really struggling to see the advantages...

If she does have a science bent I think this will be much easier to pursue in single sex school where she won't be challenged on it's being a 'boys' subject.

bringbacksideburns Fri 05-Oct-12 08:30:59

If there is a very good mixed school near you go there.

There was an excellent one near us but it was Catholic intake only so i have sent my son to a single sex one. It's an excellent school and he is enjoying it but if i had the choice i would have sent him to a good mixed.

I went to a single sex school - came out aged 16 incredibly shy and unable to talk to the opposite sex! But i suppose if i had gone to a youth club or done some kind of activity that put me in contact with boys i would have been fine. I looked at them like an Alien Life form tbh!

mnistooaddictive Fri 05-Oct-12 08:44:38

Mixed. There are children who fit the stereotype of the learner of the other gender. I also think that segregation of any kind is bad in education.

Bossybritches22 Fri 05-Oct-12 08:45:42


My DD's school has the best textiles room & woodworking workshop I've seen in a school! Some seriously non girlie bits of kit in there & the sciences/maths are well represented alongside the arts and sports. A good girls school promotes equality and excellence in all fields not just gender stereotypical ones. We have a great male HT who has DD's of his own and is REALLY clued up on getting the best out of them all.

I think your choice has more to do with the quality of the school, it's ethos and probably most importantly whether it will be the best fit for your child as if she/is happy,valued & stimulated in a supportive environment they will thrive and reach their full potential whatever it is.

AllPastYears Fri 05-Oct-12 08:47:04


We visited a (private) mixed school where they had signs up in classrooms saying things like "Girls - you can speak out in class too," and "Boys shouldn't interrupt." I forget the wording, but you get the picture! Although it was a Saturday they had a pretend class going on - the girls had far too much make up on and sat eyeing up the boys. hmm

GrimmaTheNome Fri 05-Oct-12 08:47:28

As with all such questions, it depends on the individual child and it depends on the actual schools available.

I was a 'sciency' girl, I went to a mixed GS where I was the only girl or just one other in one O-level and all A-levels. It didn't bother me one bit.

My main socialising with boys wasn't in school, it was brother's friends and out of school.

DD goes to a girls' GS and it suits her down to the ground. In yr6 she was totally fed up with boys not buckling down to work and decided she'd prefer single sex. I think she'd have been like me and not been at all influenced by peer pressure in her choice of subjects, so would have been ok at a coed - but she loves her school, and they do seem not to be under pressure to 'grow up' hmm too soon.

>I worry about girl-only school promoting & supporting especially "girl" interests too strongly, just because that's where the girls interests tend to lie (wider societal pressures if nought else). Like textiles, gym, lacrosse, field hockey, art, drama, dance

Well, as I said, depends on the school. DDs school has a science specialism. They do all those 'girl' things (except textiles) but they also do electronics for 2 years and many do it for GCSE, all do triple science, can do computer science instead of ICT for GCSE, and there are various science/tech clubs and they have a Science Week (last year had Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnett speaking).

Pagwatch Fri 05-Oct-12 08:47:36

Single sex, without doubt.

My son went to a boys school, then a mixed school.
He begged us to send him back to a boys school and he finished his education there.
It was a no brainier for me tbh and was the main reason they went to private schools

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