There has recently been a discussion in the press about the validity of single-sex schools.
This month Barker College on Sydney's north shore announced plans to extend its co-ed program into all year levels. The college has been co-ed in Years 10–12 since 1975. Principal Philip Heath claimed ‘you can't put an argument one way or the other on single-sex [education]’. In fact, the very opposite is true and the evidence is growing that single-sex schooling benefits both girls and boys. The latest research is available at Single-sex education for girls—The research.
I have placed two articles below that are in response to the Sydney Morning Herald article on Barker College. The first is a response from Loren Bridge of Alliance of Girls' Schools Australasia - an organisation serving girls' schools in a cross-sectorial fashion. The second is a response from Zoe Rochford via Mamma Mia website.
- Girls’ schools remain true to their single-sex heritage – Response to Sydney Morning Herald - Loren Bridge
- The benefits of single-sex schools - Zoe Rochford
I have been the Principal of a very good co-educational school and of a girls' school and it is definitely my experience that girls are able to attend better to their academic studies and enjoy their sport with greater freedom in an all girls' environment.
One of the criticisms directed at all girls schools is that they cloister young women from the 'real' co-ed world. What's so wrong with protecting girls from gender stereotyping, sexism and harassment during their schooling? It's working in Iceland, which consistently tops the ranking of the world's nations with the smallest gender gap. Iceland's all girls pre-schools are empowering girls through advocating strength, courage and a strong voice.
Here’s some further reading you might find interesting: