The future of girls' schools -video interview with Dr Helen Wright- past President of the Girls Schools Association

In this insightful interview with tes, Dr. Helen Wright, past president of the Girls Schools Association in the UK, gives her views on the future of girls schools and rebuts some commonly espoused theories against single-sex schooling. Dr. Wright suggests that ‘girls schools provide and…

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Single-sex schools promote equality

The debate on single-sex education has been ongoing for a long time. However, recently, a fresh dimension has become important: the role single-sex schools can play in advancing gender equality.

The right of each girl and each boy to equal and free education is central to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Gender equality is about each girl and each boy, each man and each woman being able to enjoy their human rights and their potential as individuals in economic, socio-cultural, civil and public life. It is about men and women being partners and making decisions together so there is peace and harmony in their homes, communities and societies. Schools have an important role to play in preparing girls and boys to listen and communicate effectively with each other to build this respectful partnership.

Every girl and every boy has the right to a free, quality education. Research clearly shows that the relevance of education largely depends on teaching-learning processes and content that are appropriate, engage girls and boys and meet their needs. 

Co-education, single-sex and mixed schools all have the potential to provide safe, empowering learning to both girls and boys. A priority for policy makers is to ensure teacher training and curriculum development respond to girls' as well as boys' learning needs in all schools.

All-girls schools and all-boys schools are not a guarantee of equality just because the way they group students but for the fact that they are at the forefront of promoting gender equality and fighting gender stereotypes.

Misconceptions about single-sex school

The words of this student, who studied for fourteen years at a girls' school, serves to break some stereotypes that people can associate with this type of schools:

-people asked her whether she was there because she was a lesbian. She says that the percentage of these girls was not necessarily higher or lower than in mixed schools.

-as regards wearing a uniform, she considers it to be very practical and lets her leave home in an instant without thinking about what she will wear.

-some people asked her if she knew how to talk to boys. She remarks that she normally met with boys out of school. In fact, she does not considered herself to be a socially inept person.

-in this type of school she does not feel the need to act in a certain way to impress someone.

-and finally, she remarks that she was not sent to this school because she did something wrong but because their parents thought it was best.

Gender equality in education

Education systems have made major strides to close gender gaps in student performance but girls and boys remain deeply divided in career choices, which are being made much earlier than commonly thought, according to a new OECD report. Single-sex schools can be a useful tool to close this gender gap.

Breaking stereotypes: the benefits of football in a girls' school

Flixton Girls' School in Manchester have seen a number of the benefits of putting football at the heart of their school life.