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Coed or girls school - Secondary

(23 Posts)
user1475317873 Tue 21-Feb-17 11:40:17

I am trying to decide if we should apply for coed or single sex schools or both. I asked DD and she seems unsure. She has always study with boys so this is what she knows; I studied all my life with girls until I went to university and it was fine for me. I feel girls grow up faster in a coed environment in terms of dating, make up, etc. She finds some of the boys in her class annoying (the naughty ones but not all). Also, I think that a girls school may give her more opportunities in terms of sports and other subjects than a Coed school.

What's your opinion?

Zodlebud Tue 21-Feb-17 13:05:41

I personally like the diamond structure for girls. Co-Ed until 11, then single sex until 16 and back to Co-Ed for A-levels.

This is what I did and I loved the sciences. I am not sure I would have been so passionate about physics as a teenager if I was in a male heavy class!!!

Single sex isn't everyone's cup of tea though. My daughter's will have the choice at 16 as to whether they stay in an all girls environment or move.

GU24Mum Tue 21-Feb-17 13:47:47

It really depends on what schools are available to you in your area unless you are thinking of moving or boarding. Schools of the same "type" (eg all girls) can be very different from each other so go and see a few of the options and see what you think. IMO I'd choose the actual school rather than type of school unless you have strong view which it doesn't sound as though you have (not a bad thing).

HPFA Tue 21-Feb-17 15:17:21

Agree it comes down to the individual school. DD doing brilliantly in all-girls but she chose it for other reasons than being single-sex.

cingolimama Tue 21-Feb-17 16:34:41

For me there was an unequivocal upside to an all-girls school: there are no subjects that are off-limits or are seen as "more of a boys thing". When I went to my local (very good) mixed secondary, I asked the Physics teacher how many girls in his GCSE class. The answer was 3. Out of 27. So academically, I think, there are advantages.

I also didn't want DD subjected to sexist bullshit on her way to a classroom or in the classroom. You only need to hear "yo, bitch!", or "get back to the kitchen" a few times, before it affects you. She'll deal with all that outside of school of course, but thought why should she when she's trying to learn?

cingolimama Tue 21-Feb-17 16:35:29

I meant academically there are advantages to all-girls schools.

KikiDeliversCakes Tue 21-Feb-17 16:46:05

We've chosen all-girls over co-ed for our daughters. Local state schools.

It's the right school for them, there's a mix of girls (populars, geeks, sporty etc. DDs' definitions btw) and interests. Lots of encouragement to do sciences (majority go on to do science degrees) and expectations that they will do their best and achieve high grades.

So far it's been the right environment for them.

EwanWhosearmy Tue 21-Feb-17 16:51:02

Depends on the school. My DSs went to an all-boys grammar school just because there wasn't a mixed one.

Currently considering secondary for DD (Y5) and the school I feel would suit her best is an all-girls. (No guarantees she'll get in). The atmosphere there is very much of achievement in all areas. I don't like the way boys tend to dominate in mixed classrooms (I've been a TA in a mixed secondary and it happened across all years and abilities).

user1475317873 Tue 21-Feb-17 17:05:53

Thank you. I do feel all girls may be better in terms of getting more opportunities for sports and doing other subjets; also because they are going through a lot of changes and not having boys around could be a good thing at that age. however as people say it may come down to the choices we have.

We are near 2 highly selective schools, one coed and one girls school. But I don't think a highly competitive school is the right environment for her.

We are not far from a girls private school which she could get in but I felt it was a bit small and not very vibrant. The school is good but facilities are not great for a private school.

There is also a coed school which we like and is selective but not as competitive as the other 2; this is probably the favourite one so far but I feel they may be more focused on boys sports than girls sports. Not sure about studying other subjects and equal opportunities.

We also have a good coed and girls state she could get in.

I would like to hear opinions also from parents with children attending Coed schools. Do your girls feel safe? do you feel they get equal opportunties to the boys?

cakeisalwaystheanswer Tue 21-Feb-17 17:40:05

DD is at a co-ed senior school and moved from an all girls at Y7. It was absolutely the right decision for her. She is at a very good school where everyone does triple science, compulsory French etc so there are few options to decide for GCSEs so none are seen as boy or girl subjects. Drama and Art are particularly popular with both sexes. Her school is very strict and doesn't have issues with boys taking over in class etc. In contrast to the experience of Ewan I can remember being told by the HT of Wellington why they would never have equal numbers of boys and girls and he explained that the girls dominate everything so you need less of them!

Having had a straight through single sex education myself I love watching the ease with which DD can just chat to boys in her year. She has a few boys as friends but sees others as "annoying" as do most of the girls at her school. It is very different with girls from her all girls primary who stayed for seniors, some seem obsessed with boys, not helped by so many coming from all girl sibling families. I listen to them talk and it takes me back to my school days when the weekly arrival of the window cleaner was enough to work the whole school in to a frenzy.

I don't believe that going to a co-ed will make any difference to DD's results, and not just because she is at a very good Indy, we have an outstanding local comp and I would expect her to do just as well there because they have similar standards of expected behaviour. But even if it did it would be worth it for her all-round confidence and relaxed behaviour in the company of boys. DD would never ever consider returning to an all girls school, but I'm sure you'll find someone else who will tell the whole story the other way round!

SallyGinnamon Tue 21-Feb-17 20:20:33

We chose single sex for DS and DD; or rather, they chose it for themselves. Both had the option of coed Grammars but at 11 found the opposite sex irritating!

DH was most keen as he'd been to coed comp himself and reflected on the lack of ambition of the girls. Nearly everyone was married by early 20s. (And divorced by 30).

I went to a girls school and did well and chose sciences as did many others. I then went to a mixed 6th form and there were only 3 girls in a class of 30 doing physics and chemistry.

There seems to be a perception that girls in single sex schools end up 'boy mad' but I don't recognise that from either my days nor DD's. They do mixed activities out of school and boys are just people, still slightly annoying sometimes!

yeOldeTrout Tue 21-Feb-17 20:26:14

I thought that the stereotype was that girls in single sex schools end up really bitchy.

Whereas boys in single sex schools end up clueless how to talk to girls & desperate to talk to any girl (is the stereotype).

Ericaequites Wed 22-Feb-17 05:40:52

If the classrooms are clean and comfortable, the loos sanitary, lunches edible, lockers for all, and there is reasonable outdoor and indoor games space, that's good enough. You don't need a palace, to have a good school. Think more about the quality of teaching, pastoral care, and bullying.
All girls schools help young women succeed in science and math.

Lottie4 Wed 22-Feb-17 10:49:23

My DD is in Year 11 at a state school, so had a mix of both. She's never had a problem with it being mixed. She's actually moving onto a private sixth form and one of her requirements was a mixed sixth form. She chats with the the boys and has a laugh, but that's it, just like with the girls. She feels we live in a world where both sexes live side by side and they need to understand and respect eachother.

Girls and boys go through a lot of changes at secondary, but that's life. They change in private, has private toilets and have teachers, Head of Years whoever they can approach in private.

EBearhug Wed 22-Feb-17 11:03:43

I agree that it depends on the school. For secondary school, my preference would be for single sex, but a good mixed school would be preferable to a poor girls school.

I think you need to focus on what you think would be best for your daughter, such as not being suited for a high-pressure school. If you've got concerns about sports provision or science facilities in a particular school, go and find out more - are those concerns well-founded or not?

Generalisations are all very well, but you could be considering the school which doesn't fit the generalisations - many mixed schools have issues with sexual harassment, but that doesn't mean all schools do.

Also, a school that is good (or poor) when she joins age 11 could be totally different 7 years later at age 18. 7 years can be a long time.

Teenage girls can be bitchy. I think that's mostly down to age, not a particular school type. It certainly happens in mixed schools as well.

ealingwestmum Wed 22-Feb-17 11:04:02

I think it's important to not fall into the generalisation trap of is all girls better then co-ed (in the same way of faith vs x, state vs indie etc). It depends on each school individually that you are comparing, they all have different leadership/cultures as well as the usual results draws and will be attractive to children that can thrive in that environment.

Our experience is very much like cake's. DD left 7 years at an all-girls and is now enjoying a co-ed environment that offers the full spectrum of STEM opportunities, no bias towards either sex.

Interestingly, the girls she left behind are showing more signs towards make-up/boys/body image vs her peers at her current school who just seem to take it more in their stride and are more relaxed around boys. There are always a few exceptions, but her observation is that she is in a less catty environment (same number of girls vs her previous school) and the boys are a good diffuser of girl-drama as they don't have the patience for it. No regrets nor wishes to return to single sex, and is thriving academically even if she may not have chosen triple science if it were not compulsory

ealingwestmum Wed 22-Feb-17 11:05:06

slight x-post with above!

EmpressoftheMundane Wed 22-Feb-17 11:34:03

I'd look at my DD and the individual schools I had to choose from.

My own 13 yr old DD goes to an all girls school. So I asked her what she thought. She said she likes it because it's quieter and lessons are less disrupted. She also thinks she gets more of the teacher's attention. She says that she sees plenty of boys after school, in the neighbourhood, friends brothers, old primary classmates etc.

Walking to work, I do notice that her girlfriends who went on to the local comp are all wearing makeup and have TedBaker handbags over their arms. DD and her classmates have backpacks and no makeup. It's odd because I think the coed girls are primping for themselves and each other and not really for the boys, though at the all girls school they aren't bothering. Perhaps something about having boys in the background, or perhaps completely unrelated.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Wed 22-Feb-17 13:32:18

ealingwest, I could have written your last paragraph!

Empress, I find the opposite. DD's co-ed school have a rigidly enforced no make up rule whereas some girls do wear make up at her old all girls school but only a few, the very loud, over confident "popular" ones. I think you are right about its nothing to do with boys its all about impressing each other.

I think the problem with steroetypes is that I can think of a few girls who do fit the bitchy, boy mad supposedly typical girls school pupil and this is who I think about when thinking about single sex schools. But the vast majority of girls at DDs old school aren't like that at all they just don't come to mind when I think of girls schools. As a pp said it really comes down to comparisons between the specific schools and DDs current school is a much better school than her old one for many reasons not because its a co-ed.

HPFA Wed 22-Feb-17 14:04:55

We tend to talk about "single sex" as if it was an entity but there's going to be many differences between them. A large all-girls comp, a superselective girls grammar and a small private boarding school for naice girls (like Lady Diana's old school specialising in "hamster husbandry") are going to be very different. Although I'm not even sure if the latter type of school still exists!!

amidawsh Wed 22-Feb-17 14:52:12

Many think the diamond structure works best - mixed til 11, then single sex, then mixed sixth form.
i have no idea why that would be a good idea. I think a move to co-ed from all girls at sixth form is disastrous. A change of school for A levels mixed with a load of boys - right at the time of your life when the work is most intense and concentration is really key.

DD is at a co ed. She often complains about some chatty, distracting girls. The boys seem more studious overall and certainly not the ones disturbing or dominating the lesson. It is a selective indie if that makes a difference.

Peanutbutterrules Wed 22-Feb-17 17:41:44

We were determined that DD (as was she) would go co-ed. She had a miserable time with the girls at her primary and felt an all girls school would just be alpha girls x 100.

Then she fell in love with an all girls school I dragged her too. Never been happier. Lovely group of friends. Says she now realises how disruptive the boys were.

There's a lot of luck involved in terms of the year group I think. I do think that STEM subjects can be boy heavy tho' and that can put some girls off.

EBearhug Thu 23-Feb-17 01:16:06

I think a move to co-ed from all girls at sixth form is disastrous. A change of school for A levels mixed with a load of boys

It might not mean a change of schools. Of my tree A-levels, one was entirely in my girls school, one was entirely in the boys school (and wouldn't have been an option if I couldn'the have done it there) and the third was half and half. Some people doing other combinations of subjects were only with one school. It was only lessons - any pastoral stuff or sports were with your own school. I think the collaboration between the schools was a positive thing.

In quite a few areas (like where I live now,) secondary schools only go up to year 11, and for post-GCSES (or retakes,) you have to go to one of the colleges. So depending where you live, you might have to change schools at 16 anyway.

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