Why do some schools offer single-sex education?Girls were educated separately from boys because they were believed to be academically inferior.
However, this is a far cry from modern single-sex education, which focuses on the real differences between adolescent boys and girls.
The aim of this approach is to maximise the learning environment for all pupils.
Several studies into the results of single-sex education have revealed the improved academic performance of students who attend this type of school.
The effect is particularly noticeable amongst all-girls schools, some of which regularly top league table for exam results at GCSE and A-level.
What are the advantages of all-girls schools?Advocates for single-sex education state that the improvement in academic results is due to the fact the school can adapt the education to the style of learning most suited to its pupils.
In the case of all-girls schools, there is often emphasis placed on the importance of building students’ confidence.
This prepares students to take on leadership roles and to study subjects that are often male-dominated in co-ed schools, such as mathematics and sciences.
What makes a co-ed school a better choice?Academic results are not the only important part of education and co-ed schools also have their advantages.
For a start, advocates of co-education believe that this type of school is a more natural environment for students. Certainly, it will more accurately reflect the world of university and work that students will encounter later in life.
Students may also prefer the atmosphere in co-ed school: a single-sex school can be stifling and high-pressure, especially for students who have previously been at a co-ed school.
At a co-ed school, boys and girls learn to build relationships as friends and colleagues with the opposite sex, which is after all what they will need to do when they leave the bubble of their boarding school.
Is it the best choice for my daughter?When choosing between single-sex and co-educational, it’s important to take your child’s views into consideration.
If your daughter really doesn’t want to go to a single-sex school, it‘s likely she won’t excel there regardless of the academic track record of the school.
However, it‘s also important to make up your mind based on the atmosphere and ethos of the school, and to avoid letting your own experience of school cloud your choice as to the best one for your daughter.