Girls perform better in examinations in girls’ schools
Last week the news reported on new research that said girls in girls’ schools perform better in examinations than girls of a similar ability in co-ed schools.
The extensive research has been carried out using GCSEs as the evidence for success and what this research did was formalise what we all already know. School performance league tables show a huge number of girls’ schools in the top one hundred. The researchers were keen to point out, however, that their study was across a range of schools and not limited to the popular high achieving establishments.
You may be surprised to learn that I didn’t whoop for joy at the news report. The study only confirmed what is obvious to all and has been for a long time and I am only sorry that not everyone gets the choice of a single sex education. The study can’t measure and detracts from the other factors that make girls’ so successful in girls’ schools. The Girls’ School Association tried valiantly to make this point amid the media maelstrom.
To a certain extent the reporting played into the hands of Richard Cairns, Brighton College Headmaster who only a couple of weeks ago wrote that girls educated in girls’ schools are socially awkward and unused to male company. His message was they may pass exams well but they won’t pass conversing, working and being at ease with men. At the time I did wonder if he had been reading too many Jane Austen novels and confused fiction with the modern reality of girls meeting boys outside of school – he was soon robustly put in his place by a huge number of successful women educated at girls’ schools who are managing very well in the world.