Co-ed versus single sex


Do you have an opinion on which is best or worked for you? Post it here.


I think parents tend to chose schools based on their own experience. I attended a single sex secondary school and was biased towards this choice for my own children. Another factor which I think plays a part is the sex of your family. I have noticed in a family where there is only one sex of child i.e. all boys or all girls then parents tend to favour co-ed as they want their child to experience the opposite sex. My decision to send my children to single sex schools has so far proved positive - sometimes “not having to prove yourself” or “looking silly” in front of the opposite sex can be a freeing, positive thing.


Really interesting. For me, having quite a boysy boy in a family of only boys I wanted the civilising influence of girls! It’s very hard to choose. Statistically, girls are said to fare better academically without boys and boys fare better with girls. I’ll try and dig out the research.


Have no experience of single sex schooling - in Scotland I don’t think I’ve ever come across a state school for just boys or girls, and even the private schools have merged over time and many are co-ed. My husband went to an all boys school from 11-16 and claims it didn’t make any difference having girls in the class or not.


Interesting. I’m thinking of moving to Scotland!


I don’t think single sex schools would teach children enough about “real life”. If you only have experience of one sex, you’re never going to know how to deal with the other, and that’s clearly something that could be an issue of later life.

I know people say that children are distracted by the opposite sex at school, but in my own personal experience I never found that to be true at all. I found that boys and girls were able to learn alongside each other and learn key lessons from each other, too.

That’s just my personal opinion, though, and I know that many others may hold other views. But from my perspective I think that girls and boys should be educated together, as there is just no reason at all to separate them.


I think it depends on the child. I went to both a co-ed and then a girls school. The girls school suited me best as I had more confidence without boys there, especially in subjects such as sports. I left school with the belief that women could acheive anything and without any concept of a glass ceiling. However, I had lots of opportunities to interact with boys outside of school in my social life. My sister had the same schooling as me but was more suited to a mixed school than the girls school as she found the environment bitchy. My brother went to the equivalent boys school and had a horrible time as it was very sports orientated and boisterous, which he is not. I would be reluctant to send my son to a boys only school but happier for my daughter to go to a girls school, if it suited her.


Yes, the headteachers of girls’ schools I have spoken to say that one of the most significant factors of a girls only education is that the girls don’t feel inhibited. They also see girls in all the leadership roles and this can be an important bedrock for ambition.

I went to a co-ed school, however, and enjoyed the challenge of beating all the boys! ; )


I went to a girls’ school for my secondary education, and it’s true that I didn’t feel inhibited. In fact, while I was still at school, there was a motion to turn it into a co-ed school, but it was voted down by students. I must say that majority of the 120 girls in my year have turned into successful businesswomen, bankers, doctors, lawyers, nurses and judges. So, it must not have done us any harm.


Most single-sex schools quote the “comfort” aspect as their USP - i.e. that the children will feel less inhibited and therefore open up more. Whilst co-ed is representative of the real world, there are so many other things about schooling that are not representative of the outside world. It’s a closed, protective environment and this is one more aspect of that.