There are lots of things to consider when choosing a school for your child, from the location to the pastoral care provisions. Something else to think about is whether or not you’d like to send your child to a single-sex school. For some parents, the decision is simple, but others struggle to make an objective decision as there are reasonable arguments for both single-sex and co-education. I have teamed up with an independent boys’ school in Hertfordshire to explore further.
Lots of parents worry that a co-educational environment might be distracting for pupils, particularly in their teenage years when hormones are raging and they start to explore romantic relationships. It’s not an unfair assumption, although one would also argue that young people need to learn how to behave around the opposite sex. For a young woman who attends an all-girls’ school, for example, and doesn’t have any close male relatives, they may grow up to feel quite shy and uncomfortable around boys and men.
Essentially, a co-educational school allows children to learn how to work alongside one another and respect their peers regardless of gender. Co-educational schools are certainly more reflective of real life, where men and women must work in harmony with each other.
One benefit of a single sex environment, though, is that staff are often able to adjust their teaching methods to suit the gender of their class. For example, in a girls’ school, English teachers can choose novels relatable to girls and vice versa. Consequently, the students are able to engage with their subject on a deeper level and therefore flourish academically. This is especially true when gender stereotypes are absent, and students can explore subjects that aren’t traditionally associated with their gender without feeling insecure or embarrassed.
There are so many other factors to consider when selecting a school for your child, so don’t let the matter of it being single sex vs co-educational affect your decision too much. In other words, don’t rule out a fantastic establishment just because it’s single sex/co-educational. Do your research and speak to professionals. Have a look at Ofsted reports, previous exam results and parent testimonials to help you with your decision.