Girls school vs. mixed? Which would you choose?(140 Posts)
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?
Having read some of the gender bias comments, I never saw that at all. It was only to 16 and I choose two sciences and the classes were pretty well mixed. The same for languages. Also I really enjoyed trying metal work and woodwork. At the girls school we only did needlework or cookery which I hated. On the outing issues. I went to school in the 80s and all the boys thought it was cool to pretend to be gay. Personal opinion but girls are less likely to want to lose their virginity early when they spend all day with boys. At uni the girls from single sex schools had more of a reputation. The gender bias at uni was very stark though with an example being languages. I did German and in minority. With French the boys were in the minority.
It was the bitchiness I hated at the girls school. Btw I was a bit disruptive with the boys.
I went to a single sex school and mixed and hated the girls but I always got on well with boys and still prefer mixed company although my dd is different and all girls may suit her better.
I have a daughter at a mixed comp. The boy/girl ratio is 60/40. Boys very disruptive even in the top stream, there is gross sexism, sexist and homophobic bullying and a serious sexual assault a few years ago, where the school didn't even bother to call the police although the boy involved was expelled.
I also have a daughter at a super selective, girls only. Generally nice well behaved girls, quite a few cliques and bitchiness. DD would have preferred a mixed Sixth Form but realised too late that people don't necessarily change in year 12.
I think - as usual - that it depends on the school.
And the child.
Girls school, without a doubt. Earlier this year the institute of physics showed a massive statistic (which I don't have to hand) that girls studying Physics at Uni came mostly from single sex schools, because in mixed schools it is seen as a 'boys' subject and the girls' voices are kind of drowned out. Similar with other STEM subjects. Girls in a girls' school grow at their own pace, and have a natural confidence about them that girls in a mixed school need a lot more support to cultivate. The girls will still have contact with boys socially, but in the classroom, where they are learning, they will be in an environment that is more conducive to their learning style. Girls school. Without a doubt.
My daughter changed to a mixed school for the Sixth Form : so much happier !
She was a a lovely girls school and yes, no distractions.
But she is so much happier now having friends who are boys as well...the atmosphere is different.
I don't think it matters much at primary and up until the age of around 15, but after that, they need to interact with the other sex.
I let them choose their ( secondary)schools themselves .
At 11, they choose single sex.By the age of 14-15, they start complaint about it ;-)
But both my ds and dd attend single sex school, and they both have friends of both genders, quick. School isn't the only place you make your friendships.
I agree with Startail - an all girls school is often a hotbed of insidious bitching (sorry!) and eating disorders. surely a mixed environment is more representative of society, universities, the workplace (usually) and so on? Both my DD and DS attend a mixed secondary school, and have friends of both genders as a result. The girls are certainly not intimidated by the boys, and, er, I suspect the girls 'score' boys on the basis of looks etc as well. That's just teenage hormones isn't it?
It has to be genuinely mixed rather than (as is often the case) a boys school with some girls in it. It takes many years to convert properly from boys to mixed - not just numbers, but ethos. Some never make it. The "mixed" school near us cheerfully acknowledges that it is a boys school that takes girls, but that is not good enough.
At a recent taster day, boys were scoring the girls who were trying out, for their looks - who was fit and who wasn't etc. Nice.
Depends on the child, DD2 would be fine at a single sex school. Perhaps more than fine, since she thinks boys are best at maths
(Top 2 in her Y6 class were boys, top 2 in mine were girls)
DD1 would be on the receiving end of bit of sneaky, insidious isolating bitchyness that girls are capable of.
For her the much more open, in your face behaviour of boys, both pleasant and unpleasant is way easier to cope with.
She both has boys as friends and boys writing her letters of apology.
Somehow I think boys keep the teachers on their toes. Real nastiness is kept in check and certain boys antics amuse everyone. For DD1 they dilute the intenseness of social interactions nicely.
In some lessons more work would get done if they were all girls.
Far more boys would do music and possibly other softer subjects if there were all boys.
There isn't a perfect answer.
Yes sorry new to this and didn't mean toots to this thread.
Girl - your comment isnt really relevant to this thread, why don't you start your own?
Anyone got any experience of doing the 7 + at notting hill and Ealing? How hard and competitive is it. Also any reviews on it as a school? Thank you!
All things equal! Then a mixed school but I don't think two schools are ever "all things equal". In my area there is a mixed grammar (which my OH and I went to) and a girls' grammar (which our sisters went to). If my dd passes her 11+ she will go to the girls school as we believe it offers a better education. However I work in a mixed grammar (out of catchment) that I believe is better than either of these and we have a huge intake of girls doing maths and science at A-Level. I have also worked in a boys grammar that was fantastic (not boyish at all).
I love this comment:
At least they will not be distracted by falling in love with half the class, then?
My sister is gay! Does that mean she would have been better in a mixed school so that she only fell in love with half the class? Or maybe she is capable of not falling in love with every female she meets. The girls in my school usually find most of the boys in their year a bit immature to be honest.
Taken dd out of mixed school. She'll be starting at a single sex school shortly.
It may reflect the youth culture of our area (London inner city by way of Kingston Jamaica), but I was very disturbed by how aggressively sexualised some of the attitudes were at the mixed comp dd went to. On her second week in year 7 a year 8 boy made her cry by asking her to come around to his house and lick whipped cream off his cock! (he used the word 'dingle' actually, which I felt slightly mitigated the nastiness of the comment....
She's also incredibly self-conscious about her looks - I think this is worse when boys are around. Particularly as she has big boobs (34E - she's just turned 13).
She gets on fine with her boy cousins and has no problem talking to boys outside of school.
Just want her not to be distracted/stereotyped by boys in school.
It depends on the child. I went to a mixed school which was (before the year i joined) an all boys school, so my year was the first year of girls. 50 girls and 110 boys in the year, year 8-11 all boys, and it was my first choice. It was without a doubt the BEST decision my parents made for me. I had always got on better with boys throughout primary school, and throughout secondary school was the same. Even with the small number of girls in my year, there was a really high amount of bitchiness and bullying, so the thought of an all girls school fills me with horror. Having the boys helped diffuse the bitchiness and having them around certainly didn't disrupt my education.
But then my younger sister went to an all girls school. Her choice, and my parents supported it. It was a very different environment from what I understand(very VERY competitive in all aspects, sports/grades, which suited my sisters personality) but also very competitive and bitchy when it came to boys and 'doing stuff with boys'.
It depends on the child, and on the school. The best school my parents could send my brother was single sex (public school, on a scholarship). We, his 3 sisters went to a mixed (comprehensive) school. I don't think being co-ed was as much a difference as the standard of teaching, the facilities and the choices that were available. There was a vast difference.
One of my daughters goes to a girl's GS, and she's interested in sciences and is doing really well academically. It's also opened doors for her to be able to become involved in sports that she wouldn't be able to do otherwise. (Women's rugby isn't usually on offer at mixed schools!) She mixes with boys at her (other) sports training and at scouts. She has a boyfriend now, and I think it's been good for her not to have the distraction of boys at school, in the classroom.
Our younger daughter is at a mixed GS. She could have gone to the same school as her sister, but she did very well in the entrance exam, and this school is 'super selective'. She wasn't sure about going to a mixed school, and would have preferred to go to an all girl's school. We just decided that, as a quieter girl, she would be better off in a school which was more geared up for academic achievement and where she wouldn't be accused of being a swot or a nerd for working hard & doing well. That just hasn't happened in her class, and for that alone I'm glad she's not at the school her sister is at! She finds it easier to mix than her sister though, and she has a great group of school friends, all girls. We made it clear in the first parent/teacher consultations that she is interested in science and will probably be interested in doing a science degree, if encouraged at school.
We all feel that both our children are at the right school for them, the 'best fit' we could manage, and it's turning out well for them, in their own ways. Mixed/single sex isn't as important as you might think. They still have to interact with the opposite sex, and it's better if they grow up with that through teenage years. My husband went to a single sex school, and I sometimes wonder whether he'd be a better communicator (with me, at least) if he'd been at a mixed school!
I'm guessing there are probably more divorces between people where one or both parties went to a single sex school, too. Just from the people I know of, that seems to be the case.
We will be opting for all-girls for DD when she turns 11.
I went to all-girls, and all-boys (first intake of girls - there were 5 of us in the whole school so not even a netball team's worth) and mixed. I was definitely happiest at the all-girls.
Apart from the academic reasons, I would like DD to have a good set of girlfriends later on and being at an all-girls school means you have to learn to get on with other women!
I was also a very later developer and as DD has growth delay issues it is likely that she will hit puberty in her late teens too. It is hard being at a mixed school where all the other girls have boobs and boyfriends at 14 and you still buy your clothes in the kid's section. I think it will be easier for her in that sense to not be around boys and 'couples' at school.
The schools we will be looking at have strong links with their corresponding boys schools and have social events and educational events together - debating, drama etc
We also live in London so she won't be without male company outside school!
Some time ago, I went from the local mixed comp to an independent for 6th form. You could tell the girls who'd come from the girls' independent by the makeup, lunchtime tears and haste to bag a boyfriend. It was not a particularly macho/'rugby orientated' type school. I was the only girl doing two of my A levels but wasn't made to feel weird or isolated.
I think there can be issues if DC is in single sex schools right the way up from nursery, especially if siblings are same sex. That's surely a very small number of people with the problem!
I didn't set out to find a single sex school for DD till she asked, but would say they've got advantages and important differences: friendships between girls are very different to friendships between boys and a boy and a girl (leaving aside any hint of sex in this - heaven forbid!). That difference permeates the whole school. I don't think one is necessarily better than the other, but if she does, I'll go with it.
Grimma and CecilyP
I totally agree that my dc do a lot more out of school activities than I did when I was at school back in the 70s, but I too went to an all girls school and my statement (I don't recognise this "not knowing how to speak to / react to / be with people who are a different gender from you") still stands from then.
Indeed I meet up with some of the girls from school ech year, and have asked them about this after a previous thread in the past, and none of them recognised it either.
We were perhaps in the perfect situation though, with a girls' and boys' school next door to each other, so sep lessons, but shared buses to and from school, and, once you got to (what was then Upper 4th! now) Yr9, a lot of the lunchtime and after school activities were joint.
ds and dd's schools mix for drama, and some lessons in the 6th form, but nowhere near as much as we used to when I was at school, it's true.
I don't remember giggling about boys ever, or at least not the boys at school.
Join the discussion
Please login first.