The case for girls’ schools

Earlier today I appeared on the BBC2’s Daily Politics – find it on BBC iplayer with today’s date (6th February) – and I was able to talk about the benefits of girls’ schools, which was a real boon. Girls’ schools are such fantastic places, and I am meeting with some colleagues from the US National Coalition of Girls’ Schools this week, as well as with other colleagues from around the world, as we seek to draw together our girls’ schools in a wider network which will benefit the girls we educate. This is a global world, after all, and our young women are growing up with a clear imperative and need to be able to understand and communicate with peoples from every corner of the globe. The more we can do as educators of girls to help develop this awareness and to help ‘grow’ the next generation, so that they can continue the work towards a fairer, more equitable society, the better.

As I was just checking a few details for my trip, I came across again the excellent ‘Case for Girls’ Schools’ on the NCGS website, and I was so inspired (again) that I wanted to share it with you here. They dismantle the myth that girls’ schools are in a bubble, pointing to the far greater opportunities that exist in girls’ schools for girls to do anything at all, free of prior expectations or prejudice: ‘By subtracting boys, an all-girls’ education adds opportunities. At a girls’ school, a girl occupies every role: every part in the play, every seat on the student government, every position on every team. Not only does she have a wealth of avenues for self-exploration and development; she has a wealth of peer role models.’

This case for girls’ schools continues with a focus on the classroom environment: ‘In an all-girls’ atmosphere, classroom dynamics shift – Without the distraction of boys, girls can have a greater ability to focus on their work; and teachers can demand that such work meet the highest standards.’ And finally, the proof is in the results – based on research which is listed, the article makes that point that ‘single-sex schools for females provide greater opportunity for educational attainment as measured by standardized cognitive tests, curriculum and course placement, leadership behavior, number of years of formal education, and occupational achievement’.

Girls’ schools are great – they are amazing places. As the National Coalition for Girls’ Schools says, ‘Simply put, girls’ schools teach girls that there is enormous potential and power in being a girl.’

And they are right.

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