Sunday, 7 February 2016

Are Single Sex Schools Really So Awful?

Earlier this week on Facebook I stumbled across a post that caught my attention for all of the wrong reasons (isn't that always the case when I've been interested enough to post about it on here?) - this time, it was an article on Girl's Schools Being A "Huge Disadvantage". Now admittedly, I'm biased - I attended a girl's school and I thoroughly believe that, as much as I struggled there and I hated it, it really did shape me into the woman I am. As I posted the article on Facebook and saw jokes and ridicule on the article pour in from girls that I spent the majority of my teenage years with, I marvelled at the women that they have become because of the education and experiences that we received and I couldn't help but wonder - are single sex schools really so awful?

Well no, the answer seems to be. Education wise - they are amongst the top schools in the country and girls that attend female-only schools tend to achieve higher grades and they even tend to excel in traditionally male dominated subjects such as maths and sciences. In my school, one of our most applied for University courses was engineering, where girls were few and far between. I went to a school that told me I could be anything, and never suggested that a job wouldn't be for me - so why are people so quick to criticise them? Well, the article suggests, it's simple. In other co-ed schools, pupils are also thriving, but they are also talking to boys every single day.

girls school photo

That leads to the important question - why should it matter? The article suggests a number of reasons - women not used to speaking to males will struggle when it comes to discussing with male colleagues, same sex schools harbour bullying (in the case of girls) and a hierarchy system (in the case of boys), there is also a heavy suggestion that same sex schools are unpleasant to be in. I can tell you that this isn't my experience - my school came top of the league tables in the country, as did the boy's school that existed next door. When introduced to debate in sixth form I watched girls fluidly discuss and back up their debates against their male counterparts, and I watched us win debate after debate (we lost gracefully more than a few times, too), and I can honestly say that the few isolated instances wherein I saw bullying or hierarchies, in both same sex schools, it was quickly dealt with and it was a lot less frequent than reported in co-ed schools within our school area.

The fact is - I didn't leave school cowering away from men, I left school confident in the education that I'd achieved and that meant that I was confident enough to speak to males - given that they are also just humans, and it's not like I'd never encountered one during all the times that I was in school. The fact is, this whole article is about girl's schools, and yet it seemingly hinges on the issues that they have regarding males - and I say it's time that stopped. Co-ed schools may be best for boys, and in some cases it's inevitable that they will have a huge percentage of girl's that thrive - but with girl's school consistently topping the league tables, it's ridiculous to suggest that girls are some how coming out lesser people due to their education within them.

What's your opinion on single sex schools?

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Growing Up A Girl

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