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Single sex, or mixed school?

(22 Posts)
alleypalley Mon 14-Sep-15 19:54:08

We are starting to look at schools for my yr6 dd. I was wandering if anyone had any opinions or experiences on whether one is preferable to the other?

taxguru Mon 14-Sep-15 20:16:09

As long as the child has interaction with the opp sex outside school at clubs, with neighbours, extended family, etc., then single sex ed could well be beneficial. It avoids boys showing off to impress the girls and avoids the girls competing against each other via clothes, make-up, hairstyles etc to impress the boys.

Our DS is at a boy's school and couldn't be happier - no distractions so they get on with what they're there for which is education. Quite a lot of the boys at the boys school have girlfriends from the girls school. Our neighbours have two girls there and say the same, i.e. happy girls, well adjusted - like us, parents make sure that they have ample opportunity to socialise with boys outside school.

Some single sex schools have joint events with eachother. Ours do joint plays, joint choir, joint orchestra, joint DofE, and do some joint visits to shows etc, as well as joint discos and a joint prom.

Toooldforthat Mon 14-Sep-15 22:11:03

I am sending my DCs 1 boy and 2 girls to same sex schools and this feels right. They prefer it as well, no competition. Older boys are kinder to younger ones, whereas they tend to ignore them when there are girls around. I found the leavers you tube videos from City of London (boys only) and Latimer upper (co-ed) most revealing in that respect, and really preferred the City one (2010 I think).

BackforGood Mon 14-Sep-15 22:11:05

Recent thread Here for some more views.

My opinion (I went to a girls school, my ds went to a boys' school and my dds both went to a girls' school) is that it's been fine - as taxguru says, it's important they mix with both boys and girls out of school, but if they do that, then no issues.

alleypalley Mon 14-Sep-15 22:56:46

Thanks for your thoughts, and I'll check out that other thread. My top 3 choices at the moment are all girls schools, so when we go and visit I'll ask about mixed events etc.

Millymollymama Mon 14-Sep-15 23:57:21

My girls attended girls' schools. They often met boys who were family friends of other girls or even the school friends of girls' brothers - if that makes sense! The girls are never in a vacuum containing only girls and they do find ways to mix. Neither of my DDs had any problems at all. Even if the school does not do social events with boys there will be parties, balls, discos and other opportunities to mix. The school ball had loads of boys in attendance invited by the girls!

Decorhate Tue 15-Sep-15 06:31:16

My dd went to single sex from years 7-11 & then moved to an all boys that took girls for 6th form. Worked really well for her. All the girls in the 6th form were new to the school so no existing friendship groups to break into.

claraschu Tue 15-Sep-15 09:14:54

I had a different experience with my children. They all started out at single sex schools in year 7, but moved by year 9 or 10 for different reasons. All of them, especially my daughter, have said how much more obsessed the kids at the single sex schools were with the opposite sex. The dances and events they did with opposite sex schools had a heightened and artificial significance; once they were in mixed schools my kids felt that all the kids were more good comrades: demystified and normal.

Also, in my view it is not true that girls dress up to impress boys, and boys show off for girls. They also do these things to impress members of their own sex, and often the competitiveness of a single sex school (in my experience) can be more intense than it is in a friendly mixed school.

Finally, if you look at the way that Dutch or German teenagers (for instance) relate to each other, you will see a healthy, unembarrassed companionship among girls and boys which is harder to find in the UK. I think this may partly be down to the fact that there are no single sex schools: life is coeducational so schools should be coeducational.

Millymollymama Tue 15-Sep-15 13:10:49

I think though, your children's experience is not usual claraschu. It may also be that the girls your DDs left behind also grew up! Children in all schools chat about the opposite sex. At least single sex boarding schools don't find used condoms in the grounds.

Single sex schools continue to be popular due to the ability to concentrate on educational activities without any input from the opposite sex. It allows children to develop their interests without worrying about what the girls/boys are doing and thinking. Talk about boys/girls is not part of the learning experience in any way but doing science and being encouraged because you are a girl is valuable. Young people to not have to be educated in a co-ed setting to understand a co-ed life. What about single Mums with daughters? Or Dads with sons? Are they not able to understand a co-ed life?

Ginandtonictime Tue 15-Sep-15 13:44:02

In my experience of four boys at mixed schools:

- boys dilute girls bitching, girls have no patience with boys messing about in class

- for every one girl that a boy might find 'distracting' (i.e. attractive), there are ten girls that they don't and merely mix with normally with no agenda - vice versa applies equally

- a great example: during a car journey, one of my 14 yr old twin boys was being mean about a girl in class; his brother turned to him and said "how could you say that about her? She is so nice - such a nice person - don't say anymore, I don't want to hear it!" His brother was so shocked at the rebuke he didn't say anything else for the rest of the car journey.

Nuff said ... grin

ealingwestmum Tue 15-Sep-15 13:48:38

Our experience is along lines of claraschu. My DD has just moved from a single sex (4 - 11) to co-ed from Y7 to hopefully 18. Early days but loves it so far. Lived in my area for 20 years and hear the following, continuously about the school she has left:

- A lot of the girls that stay onto senior get restless by Y9/10 and want to move for 16+ (often, driven by interest in boys as well as boredom/fall outs with longstanding friendship groups. Limited ability to mix with wider groups.

- Yes, there is alignment with the local co-ed school to mix with boys but the heightened competitiveness to outdo their peers at social events makes them more 'adventurous'. They up the ante to compete with the more central London girls (who conversely, play down because they have more interaction with boys on a daily basis, such as commuting & school)

- Many boys state they fear the girls from single sex schools in social situations more than in their own school because of this

- The girls definitely come out with the required high level of qualifications, but have a lack of drive/ambition. This is continuous feedback from existing parents of girls in the SS.

All anecdotal, first hand experience of one SS school and the impact on us & those we know over the years here.

It's true that co-ed does not suit all, especially shy personalities or those self conscious to speak out in from of boys. But for others it's a refreshing change!

ohnocourtingdd Tue 15-Sep-15 14:43:26

DD started at an all girls school as it was academically better than the local mixed. After a couple of years we moved her to the mixed.

According to DD her same sex school experience was that it made the girls obsessed with boys and the bitchiness was unbelievable. Of course, there was some of that in the mixed school but not the same degree.

claraschu Tue 15-Sep-15 22:43:32

Millymolly I have two boys of 19 and 17 and one 14 year old daughter. All of them have attended single sex and co-ed schools, and all of them have large mixed groups of friends from their various schools. I am just reporting my experience.

granolamuncher Tue 15-Sep-15 23:38:14

As it happens, Clarissa Farr of SPGS has been talking to The Sunday Times this weekend about how awful boys' schools are:
m.huffpost.com/uk/entry/8139686

She says girls are "used to being taken seriously" at girls' schools while boys learn to mock them at their schools. The discrimination they encounter in the workplace is why Paulinas quit jobs shortly after starting them, she reports.

It's curious because only a couple of months ago she told the same paper that Paulinas were eschewing university and going straight into jobs:
www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/Education/article1580306.ece

Perhaps her pupils would be better advised to go to university after all? Is Ms Farr aware unis are co-ed these days?

So are most schools and they usually take girls "seriously". hmm

roguedad Wed 16-Sep-15 20:09:21

OP - maybe you should think of this more in relation to how your child is - I think the different environments can suit different types of child better. You'll get all kinds of opinions on this one! We moved our son to a boys' school with a bit of interaction with a sister girls' place. It created a lot of extra-curricular options, especially in sports, being able better to create more minority options. But not for everybody.

Millymollymama Thu 17-Sep-15 00:01:01

I think the point CF was making was largely to do with the manners and attitudes towards women of young men in the work place which should be addressed whilst they are at school. young men, wherever they are educated, can behave like this.

granolamuncher Thu 17-Sep-15 08:18:23

I would agree with CF if that was the point she was making but she is reported to have singled out boys' schools for blame, as if the only men Paulinas ever encountered in their workplaces were the products of that tiniest of tiny minorities of schools in this country.

“It would be wonderful to see boys’ schools making a point of addressing issues of equality so that young men are equipped to work alongside young women of comparable ability without difficulty," she said.

Honestly, she and her pupils should widen their horizons. University would be a good place to start.

WhoreGasm Thu 17-Sep-15 08:30:14

From an academic point of view, girls perform much more successfully at single sex schools. Our local girls' grammar routinely outperforms the local boys' grammar in their exam results.

So, for us, we always wanted a single sex 'education' for our DCs. But they do have lots of interaction with their male cousins, and their friend's brothers. So they don't see boys as an alien species.

Salene Thu 17-Sep-15 08:31:56

My sister went to a all girls school and says she would never send her daughter there, she said on leaving she found it hard to interact with the opposite sex. There was a unnatural obsession with boys, and a lot of bitching and bullying going on.

So from what she has told me I'd not send mine to a same sex school.

ealingwestmum Thu 17-Sep-15 09:41:26

I'd agree that statistically, girls to perform academically better in a SS school. When we put our DD into one at 4, we thought we could put our feet up until 18. But it became apparent there was more to producing a rounded child, than grades alone and supported her move. The school she is in now does not produce the same results on paper, but I think will be the better school for her and a more enjoyable experience.

She was tired of the high level drama etc that can come with a girls only environment a bit like her mum who is sometimes [shocked] at the school mums' drama in RL!

But of course, not on MN grin

cakeisalwaystheanswer Thu 17-Sep-15 09:57:19

I went to an all girls school and some considerable years later still struggle to have the "unembarrassed companionship" type of relationships clarashu refers to. I've discussed it with lots of friends who also struggle and we all went to single sex schools. The world has changed a lot since the 1960's, I don't want DD to grow up in a Malory Towers environment. She is a very modern girl and I want her to grow up in something which mirrors the real world.

We too moved DD recently at her request from a single sex juniors to a co-ed senior school and it was the best decision ever. I am never prouder of DD than when I see her walking along chatting to one of the boys in a relaxed and unembarrassed way.

gandalf456 Thu 17-Sep-15 10:32:00

My daughter has just started a single sex school. Although quite tomboyish, I found that she was getting distracted by the boys messing about in class at the primary school and, since she was behind already, I thought the single sex school would be good for her.

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