Is co-ed as effective as single sex?

Welcome to the third part of Mr Ayres’ blog…

In a single sex school gender stereotypes play less of a role than in a co-educational school because you are not in an environment where girl/boy performance comparison exists. At Thorpe House boys generally perform equally well in science and mathematics as they do in English, the humanities and the arts. One of the most important developments for me as a professional working in a single-sex school has been seeing first-hand the importance that creating the right environment plays in pupil performance. At Thorpe House we have boys who excel in all areas and the underlying reason for this is that the teachers deliver their subject without bringing any preconceived notions or gender stereotyping to what a boy can or cannot achieve.

I am often asked if I think co-ed schools can ever be as effective as single sex schools.  I have been fortunate enough to work in excellent co-educational schools in both the state and independent sector throughout my career and they have all been very effective and produced some outstanding individuals. That being said, I have definitely seen the advantages single sex education has for boys in particular. In co-educational schools it is often the boys who under-perform and get left behind; their achievements overshadowed by the performance of girls whose brains have matured more quickly. One of the main benefits of a school like Thorpe House is that it caters specifically for boys unique, educational hardwiring and teachers are able to tailor the curriculum and deliver the teaching and learning in a way that suites the boys best. If boys really are from Mars and girls from Venus, then, as far as educating boys is concerned, co-educational schools may never be as effective as their single-sex counterparts.