Single-sex schooling versus co-education: a sensitive and recurring debate, particularly in the independent sector where gender separation rises to 35% between years 7 to 11*. However, North London independent schools group, North Bridge House, suggests that the single-sex versus co-ed debate may have limited shelf life.
Headteachers of the successful co-ed North Bridge House Senior Schools, Brendan Pavey and Jonathan Taylor maintain that in every aspect of school life, their students are prepared for a world that is representative of the one they will enter as an adult.
“Only in a mixed school that treats everyone as an individual, with equal rights, will children be truly prepared to work with people from all backgrounds, no matter what colour, creed or gender. A co-educational environment is, quite simply, the best place to prepare young people for the world of tomorrow,” says Brendan, NBH Senior Hampstead Head.
The schools focus not on separating the genders but on educating them. Part of that education is helping students to better interact with and appreciate the opposite sex. As such, the Year 7 boys attend a ‘Better Men’ workshop, which teaches them about the importance of gender equality, while the girls benefit from self-confidence workshops.
“Our academic, pastoral and extra-curricular provisions collectively thrive on boys and girls working together. From sharing opinions on topical issues in subjects ranging from History to PSHE – learning to appreciate individual views, not gender stereotypical views – to embarking on outreach projects as far as Malawi, students break down any potential barriers that might otherwise exist between the sexes and become confidently familiar with the social norm,” concludes NBH Senior Canonbury Head, Jonathan.
*ISC Census and Annual Report 2017 https://www.isc.co.uk/media/4069/isc-census-2017-final.pdf