Do co-educational schools hold both boys and girls back in their learning?
The Daily Telegraph reported on a conference held in London this week where Vivienne Durham, head at the all-girls Francis Holland School, argued that teenage girls are held back in co-educational schools.
Her comments were supported by Andrew Halls, head teacher at King’s College School, Wimbledon a co-educational school. According to the Daily Telegraph Mr Halls, said that teenage boys and girls were “struggling to cope” with the pressures of a “sexualised culture”, and that single sex education gave pupils the opportunity to be “normal”.
Furthermore Mr Halls argued that there was a temptation to “caricature” boys and girls within co-ed schools, “regardless
of the fact that many boys possess feminine characteristics and girls are just as adept at working against stereotypes. He said that, similar to girls, teenage boys felt less constrained ina single sex environment, with pupils “just as likely to play in the orchestra as in the rugby team, sing in an all boys choir as join the CCF.”
It is refreshing that a head of a mixed school is prepared to admit that boys may benefit as much as girls from a single-sex education. From my own experiences I believe my sons valued being able to learn in an environment that was geared to boys and their style of studying. Equally my daughter enjoyed her single-sex school and my children made strong friendships that still exist today.