Two schools tell us about the benefits of a single sex education

The Granville School

Gloria Steinem said, ‘Don’t think about making women fit the world – think about making the world fit women,’ and that is what we aim to do in an all-girls’ school. We do not need to make our girls ‘fit’ a curriculum that wasn’t specifically designed for them. We offer bespoke teaching, tailored carefully to the needs not only of girls as a gender, but to their individual requirements. We design our curriculum to suit our girls and we reap the rewards of every benefit a female-only classroom brings. 
Research repeatedly shows that girls in girls’ schools, consistently outperform their peers. A report by the Girls’ Schools Association in February 2024 demonstrated that, “the gap between girls in girls’ school and girls in co-ed schools is widening for most subjects,” and noted that traditionally ‘male’ subjects such as Computer Science, Maths and the natural sciences have a considerably higher uptake in girls’ schools than in co-educational schools. An all-girls’ education not only leads to higher attainment but also opens the door to the world of STEM. We see this at The Granville. Our pass rate for 11+ has been 100% for girls who attend from Reception to Year 6 and we are the largest single feeder into Sevenoaks School. We are non-selective and small, yet the education we offer packs a huge punch when it comes to results.  
Beyond the classroom, we also see huge benefits – there are no gender stereotypes to be bound by. Our extra-curricular programme offers, among others, Boxing, Jujitsu, Chess, Golf, Football and Coding. Nothing is out of reach and there are no glass ceilings here. Our girls grow up feeling that every opportunity is available to them.  
Female social dynamics in the primary age group can often look quite different to those for boys. Development both physically and emotionally does present differently between genders. Our expertise in supporting girls through our pastoral care system and more structured programmes such as Girls on Board, leads to great outcomes. Every girl is different but with a broad toolkit of skills and knowledge, we can enable each of them to thrive.

The New Beacon

What better start in life than being offered every available opportunity; making your choices based on your interests rather than a predetermined expectation – whether you choose to dress up, build a fort, ice biscuits or discover dinosaurs. We believe in inspiring children to try everything and therein lies the joy of a single sex education: no judgement, no inhibitions, no restrictions. Education should know no limits and children shouldn’t feel obliged to fit a stereotype. For our boys at The New Beacon, this is their reality.
Far from cultivating a macho culture of toxic masculinity we see our boys queue up to audition for the Chapel Choir; no one thinks twice about taking on the female lead in a production or learning to play the harp. Space, sewing, cars, cookery, podcasting, pottery…it’s all fascinating and boys love to get involved and learn. We teach lacrosse alongside rugby, incorporate dance into fitness, embrace language acquisition and reading, and why wouldn’t we? We are teaching skills for life, for everyone.
Developmentally, boys mature at a slower rate between the ages of 6 and 14, those crucial prep school years. They get bad press for impulsive, immature behaviour; finding themselves labelled competitive or thoughtless, for excitement, naivety and overexuberance. Constant comparison with girls and a sense of falling short is a surefire way to create anxiety and insecurity. As a result of our environment, our boys are far more likely to discuss social and emotional issues. They understand that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it is the strongest thing they can do.
We work collaboratively with girls’ schools, embracing diverse opinions and equal opportunities, whilst reinforcing the need to find one’s own identity. After all, it is when we are comfortable in our own skin, confidently pursuing our own interests, that we can engage respectfully and collaboratively with others.
There is no need for resentment or discomfort when you recognise your own worth. We understand and celebrate boys – their humour, energy and exuberance. We want our boys to be themselves and we are here to help them discover the very best version.

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