The debate over single-sex and co-ed schools is never far from the spotlight, writes Loren Bridge.
Parents rightly want, and should have, a choice when it comes to selecting the school that best meets the needs of their child.
Simply put, every aspect of a girls’ school is tailored to girls and how they learn, without competition and social pressure from boys, and this is enormously empowering for girls.
Principal of Loreto College Marryatville in South Australia, Dr Nicole Archard states “Girls’ schools do more than just teach the curriculum and offer a range of sporting and co-curricular opportunities – all schools do that.
“What girls’ schools do is purposefully develop girls to understand their gender identity and to shape their self-concept, self-efficacy, and self-confidence so girls develop the knowledge and skills required to reject and overcome the gender stereotypes that attempt to define them”.
There are numerous studies that show unequivocally that students in single-sex schools benefit from a learning environment free from gender stereotyping, unconscious bias and social pressure.
In particular, single-sex schooling offers girls the unparalleled opportunity to hold every leadership position, to play every instrument in a school’s orchestras and bands, to captain every sports team from water polo to rugby.
Girls are more confident in discussion, select more challenging subjects, take more risks with their learning, are more competitive and achieve higher comparable grades than girls in co-educational schools. In addition, girls’ schools play a vital role in promoting a positive body image and healthy mental wellbeing.
All-girls learning environments build confidence and a readiness to challenge the people and opinions that perpetuate gender inequality.
Loren Bridge is executive officer of the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia.