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Girls aren't put off sports at schools by boys - says a man...

(47 Posts)
OlennasWimple Mon 28-Nov-16 02:17:41

Telegraph article here quoting the head of Latymer Upper School, saying that girls in co-ed schools aren't put off playing sport by their male peers. hmm

Leaving aside that most children aren't rowing or playing cricket at their school, can I just point out that he clearly has zero appreciation of what playing sport as a teenage girl is really like? Boobs developing and being very painful (or no boobs developing, and being very obviously lacking in unflattering PE kit). Wobbly legs suddenly exposed in short PE skirts. Always having to play the boys sports (like basketball) rather than the girls sport (like netball), when playing together. Being beaten by most boys in most sports, because even scrawny boys who haven't yet had their growth spurt tend to be stronger and faster than teenage girls.


I'm hoping that he thinks he is genuinely sticking up for girls, and pointing out that it isn't all about impressing the boys, but it jsut smacks of He Doesn't Get It, doesn't it?

EBearhug Mon 28-Nov-16 02:34:45

If it's only about growing breasts, and the wrong bras, I suppose technically he'doesn't be right. But it all comes with cat-calling and all the rest of the things you've pointed out. It's like pointing out there's no reason that more girls don't take STEM subjects, because they have just the same opportunities - if you ignore unconcious bias, stereotype threat, lack of role models, harassment in schools and all the other factors which make it a more hostile environment for girls, many of which are at play in sports as much as in STEM.

EvenTheWind Mon 28-Nov-16 07:49:10

His basic premise is that if you start off co-Ed, then boys and girls are used to each other and, QED, treat each either like equal humans at all times. Essentially, that boys educated in co-Ed won't be sexist.

As the vast majority of people in the uk are state, co-Ed educated, why does he think sexism still exists, if it's that simple?

Massive logic fail in citing Laura trot too. There is a women's team. Whoever is in it will be impressive. So what conclusions can you draw from.a co-Ed woman in a women's team?naff all.

EvenTheWind Mon 28-Nov-16 07:55:41

According to wiki, Laura and her sister began cycling with their mother to lose weight (assume the mother wanted to lose weight)

Laura's school was a,state school, so nothing to do with partner!

EBearhug Mon 28-Nov-16 07:58:36

Essentially, that boys educated in co-Ed won't be sexist.

I guess he hasn't read the Equality Illusion, if he really believes this to be true.

growapear Mon 28-Nov-16 08:19:46


So you prefer sex segregated schooling ? sTEM is a mystery to me, I work in software and its an ideal career for parents I often think.

EvenTheWind Mon 28-Nov-16 08:25:30


Is that what she said? No.

Did you read the article that olewanna wrote about? It's very poor.

VikingVolva Mon 28-Nov-16 08:32:28

a) He's the head of a co-ed school, talking mainly about the dynamics in his school. Which has produced national-level girls teams.

b) the whole article is in response to the comment from the head of a single sex school ""With no boys around to 'impress', I have always found that girls are far more likely to enjoy running around for an hour at lunchtime on the sports pitch than they might be in a co-ed environment."

The whole article is about the debate between single sex and co-ed schools, not about sportiness, though I share the incredulity that the current chair of the Girls School Association seems to be saying that girls cannot achieve unless segregated.

I doubt her view is that polarised, and I know some people do prefer single-sex education for a whole heap of reasons. Sporting excellence not being one ai've come across before, but as valid as any.

growapear Mon 28-Nov-16 08:51:07

No she didn't say it, i thought that was a logical conclusion of her illustrations of the horror of doing PE with boys as a teenage girl. I'm against segregated or selective schools on principle, so maybe I am a bit touchy about it.

I'd be interested to hear what you think about STEM because as noted e.g. software is a career that I would be very happy my own daughter to pursue.

EvenTheWind Mon 28-Nov-16 08:56:31

I like STEM. I did STEM.

There you go.

originalmavis Mon 28-Nov-16 09:01:45

I was put off school sports by communal showers, bitchy teachers and having to run around a chuffing hockey pitch in the snow in a sodding gym slip.

That and the sadistic PE teacher who would go at scraped knees with a scrubbing brush and carbolic soap.

The boys were never with us doing PE - only if they lost a fixture and were made to play hockey against the girls A team as punishment. The boys had better PE teachers so if you wanted to actually heard the long jump or discus you had to ask them.

Artandco Mon 28-Nov-16 09:02:00

I attended a girls school. It was great. Almost everyone went down a science or tech route, and everyone did lots of sports. Friends from school now work in various jobs, including scientist working on viruses, helicopter pilot in war zones, and similar

BertrandRussell Mon 28-Nov-16 09:04:19

I thought it was usual in secondary schools to have separate girls and boys PE.......

ChocChocPorridge Mon 28-Nov-16 09:05:36

Every school I was at, the playground was owned by the boys to play football. The girls weren't welcome there and we had to head round the sides to talk/whatever...

It's got to have some kind of effect hasn't it?

IAmAmy Mon 28-Nov-16 09:06:37

I don't think the article is terrible, but it's written from the very narrow point of view in the sense the writer is talking purely about his own school rather than evidence from take up of sport in the majority of co-educational schools. His school is an independent school which encourages take up of sport and as Olenna alluded to has the facilities to offer cricket and rowing, with a boat house on the Thames riverside. He doesn't seem to discuss anything beyond the not standard experience of his own school other than mentioning Laura Trott.

On co-education, I can see where he's coming from on some of the points, though I'm at a girls' school which I'm most grateful for. He mentions STEM, but at my school and another couple of girls' schools I know of, Maths is the most taken A Level and STEM subjects are taken up widely (whilst at the boys' school the elder of my brothers attends and I know some boys from, English Literature is one of the most taken). This clearly isn't the case in mixed schools. I do see the value in mixed education as that's what'll happen at university and/or the workplace but there are a variety of factors which hold girls back in them, from gender stereotyping to sexual comments and even assaults. If he's the Head of a school which has managed to break all this down he should try to help others to do likewise. It's quite lacking in awareness of what's going on beyond his school to just say "educating girls and boys together is ideal, we do and everything's perfect".

In terms of sport, my school is very big on sport and the majority of my year group do competitive sport. This is the same at other girls' schools I know of, so there's something contributing to that. However as most children will be educated in mixed schools we need to ensure girls at them have the same opportunities to play sport, competitively or for fun, so they're not held back or restricted in any way.

originalmavis Mon 28-Nov-16 09:06:46

I think we did cross country with the boys.

EvenTheWind Mon 28-Nov-16 09:08:08

Sure,but girls and boys may be doing different games on the same field,

growapear Mon 28-Nov-16 09:33:47


I'm obviously asking why people think more women do not do e.g software. My experience is that they are welcome in the industry, companies in fact go to great lengths usually to show they have a woman's network or several women working there. Yet the vast majority of programmers and software engineers are blokes, and mostly inoffensive 'beta' male type blokes. It's very sad given the importance of tech in our society, but I have also failed largely to get my own daughter to take any interest. But then I would have had no interest in my own father's job at that age, so maybe I shouldn't give up.

growapear Mon 28-Nov-16 09:34:38

Anyway bit off topic I guess.

EvenTheWind Mon 28-Nov-16 09:36:58

"My experience is that they are welcome in the industry, companies in fact go to great lengths usually to show they have a woman's network or several women working there."

Mmm hmm.

There are several posters on here with experience of women's networks at work. Suffice it to say that often they don't mean what you think they might. Your company may be different, of course.

Somerville Mon 28-Nov-16 09:41:57

In a school like LU, with large sports facilities and the budget to hire specialist PE staff, it makes sense that the girls aren't put off sport despite it being a co-ed environment. In plenty of schools without those advantages though there is a problem.

VikingVolva Mon 28-Nov-16 09:44:23

The person who made the statement about girls (which he is responding to) is the head of an independent school too.

So perhaps neither should be taken as typical.

Somerville Mon 28-Nov-16 09:49:40

They educate 7% of the kids on this country, right? Something like that. So no, not typical.
Is there data on the numbers of professional sports people in the UK who were independently educated? Because I'd bet they're massively over represented.

EvenTheWind Mon 28-Nov-16 09:50:01

Agree, VV

But his logic that co ed schools are devoid of sexism because... boys at his,school are used to girls at his school sticking up for themselves.. remains a poor argument whatever the background!

EvenTheWind Mon 28-Nov-16 09:50:24

I expect that's true, somerville

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