Educating boys and girls together is education in its fullest, richest and broadest sense: it is balanced, stimulating, challenging and exciting. It places young people in an environment of learning that enables them to discover how best to work together.
Same-sex education simply doesn’t offer the same depth and diversity as co-education. To understand the world, young people need to understand diversity. Learning from a young age that our interpretation of what we see, hear and feel is based upon a range of contexts - including gender - is a hugely enriching experience. It’s also vital to forming strong relationships and developing effective communication styles – essential qualities of a happy life and a good educational outcome.
A DCSF study concluded that there was “little evidence to support the notion that the dominant learning style of boys differs from those of girls”; to identify exclusively girl-centred or boy-centred learning strategies is therefore meaningless. The study also concluded that ways of teaching that appeal to boys are equally girl-friendly: “they characterise quality teaching, and as such are just as suitable and desirable for girls as for boys”.
Co-education poses its own challenges. We work with young people and guide them as best we can as they reach a reasonable understanding of the world; sometimes the journey is easy, at other times it presents challenges. But with every challenge comes an opportunity for learning, and an invaluable opportunity for personal growth.
By learning to live and work together, a co-educational school life best prepares a young person for much that lies ahead of them.