It is a debate that has raged for a number of years, but there is still a discussion over whether single-sex or co-ed schools offer a better experience. The arguments usually center on academic achievement versus social implications. Establishing which type of school is the best is heavily dependent on who is judging.
The truth is that there are a number of great single-sex and co-education schools available across the country. Both types tend to experience similar results at the top of the league tables for both comprehensive, independent, and grammar schools. This means that there is generally not a great deal to choose between them.
Independent co-ed schools such as Bromsgrove and the City of London Freemen’s School feature in the top rankings alongside single-sex establishments such as the Perse School for Girls and Westminster School, each achieving strong results year after year.
The argument over which type of school is better can therefore not necessarily be determined by academic achievement alone and must look at social ramifications as well.
Co-ed schools are often considered superior because they provide a more rounded social experience. This is because the culture and society of today’s world are not segregated. This means that those who attend single-sex schools can occasionally find it difficult to integrate into mixed-sex establishments and places of employment later in life.
Co-ed schools are thought to increase a pupil’s ability to communicate with their peers in a more varied and relaxed manner, something which can be seen as a huge advantage. Co-ed schools also help to make education more rounded and diverse by ensuring that there are a variety of opinions expressed by different pupils. This is because children of both sexes will often have very different opinions of one another. By teaching them in the same establishment, schools are ensuring that all pupils have the benefit of listening to a range of their peers.
Single Sex Schools
The argument for single-sex schools is that they lessen distractions within the classroom and therefore increase educational and academic achievements within the school. While it is certainly the case that single-sex schools feature heavily within the school league tables – for comprehensive, grammar, and independent schools – this is not to suggest that co-ed schools are not represented at all.
Single-sex schools are often criticized for restricting the social growth and interaction of their pupils by limiting their contact with their peers to those of the same sex as themselves. This is often considered a drawback to single-sex education because it means that children are potentially put at a disadvantage when it comes to public interaction. Single-sex schools, whilst achieving good results, do not have a marked dominance over the school league tables. This means that many feel that they do not have adequate benefits to compensate for their disadvantages. Co-ed schools are therefore often considered to be the preferred choice as they offer academic and social growth/development.