My son once attended an international school that had a multiage approach in the classroom and of course, attended by both boys and girls. One year his class had an overwhelming number of boys, with only two girls. The classroom teacher joked to me, “Oh the poor girls … I don’t think they are going to get any learning done this year” (probably bit his tongue afterwards). Anyway, those words stuck with me.

And now that I am considering an all girls’ school for my daughter … for middle schooling onwards at least, I did a bit of digging around on the issue and this is what I found:

Research, by the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) – an umbrella group representing 200 private girls’ schools – shows that girls in single-sex schools are less likely to have their parents or teachers discourage them from studying what are still inaccurately perceived to be “boys’ subjects”.

The study covered more than 5,000 pupils attending schools which belong to the GSA, the report said.

It indicated that promising female students were not taking up science and maths in a co-educational environment because they were intimidated by boys who were often rowdy and liked to show off.

It also focused on whether girls and boys learn differently particularly at puberty, when both sexes experience very differetn hormonal and developmental changes.
The GSA’s basic argument was that girls will always thrive academically in single-sex classes, the report said.

Many of the GSA school leavers go on to choose a university course in engineering, maths or science, according to the report. This is in stark contrast to the national trend of plummeting numbers taking these subjects among both sexes.

The study was noted in a report by the Guardian national daily newspaper article entitled ”
‘Single-sex schools good for girls’ that noted that private girls’ schools achieve more in a learning environment where there are no boys and are turning out significantly more female mathematicians, engineers, scientists and linguists than schools catering for both sexes.

There have been other studies done on the benefits of all boys’ schools, and the results have been somewhat the same. Kaiyo Academy is a recently established (2006) Japanese elite boarding school exclusively for boys, ostensibly with the high goal of building leaders for the nation.

To read more on the topic, Boarding School Directory Blog offers many helpful features
on boarding schools such as:

Why some parents choose girl boarding school?

About Copper Canyon Academy Boarding School (an exclusive girls’ bs)
Girl boarding schools in the US  This page has a listing of bs for girls in the US as well as tips on choosing bs.

Why a boarding school might be right for your daughter is another page offering helpful tips, plus the next linked article…


— AK