Single-sex schools and SEND female students

Over the past few years, and particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, several research projects have revealed that teenage girls can often have worse non-cognitive outcomes than their male peers. For example, research by Halldorsdottir et al. in Iceland revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic had a greater negative impact on girls on a wide variety of indicators of wellbeing and behavioural change, and their depressive symptoms were above the expected nationwide scores.1 Further, ImpactEd’s national research projects (Lockdown Lessons and our Impact in Practice series) continually show that, in England, female pupils have substantially lower levels of wellbeing and higher levels of anxiety than male pupils. Wellbeing differences due to gender were more than twice as large as those associated with disadvantage or Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND).

In light of these findings, the Girls’ Schools Association, in partnership with ImpactEd, sought to better understand outcomes for girls and how different educational environments can impact upon these outcomes. Thus, this research will investigate how outcomes for girls vary in single-sex and co-educational schools in England, with a particular focus on disadvantaged girls and girls with SEND.

It is hoped that this research will add to a growing evidence base that seeks to understand how different educational environments can impact on a child’s development, happiness, and success at school.