The whole point of education is to prepare and equip children to thrive when they leave school. Life does not keep boys and girls separate. Universities, the workforce and pupils’ future lives will not feature a division of sexes. A co-educational environment is therefore reflective of today’s society.
Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge confirmed this view when he commented, 'A strong reason for co-education is that separating children for a number of years means they will not be mixing and learning about each other. The immense benefits of girls and boys playing and working together go far beyond anything that can be achieved in the curriculum.
The skills learned are so valuable they cannot be measured but we know that they are vital for a happy and successful life. Anyone who has been in a co-educational school to see at first-hand, how boys and girls learn to work and play together, and to interact naturally with each other, will know how much confidence and happiness this brings. Only a co-educational school provides this mutually supportive and nurturing environment.
Are there significant differences in learning styles between boys and girls? If so this would demonstrate the positive need for single sex education. In schools, however, shows that learning is not gender driven but rather determined by individual needs. Good teachers are much more focused and experienced in meeting the individual learning styles of children, in a way that rises way above gender issues. Years ago, there was one style of teaching and the pupils had to adapt. The question therefore, is not how should girls be taught compared with boys, but how should each child be taught, developed and nurtured, to equip them well for life, whatever path they choose to take. In this respect, gender is irrelevant.
Some parents think that their children may benefit from a schooling without the distractions of the opposite sex. Today’s children have more distractions than ever before. These distractions, such as social media and the magnetic attractions of the digital age, are all around us and however much you may want to shield your child from them, it is a school’s responsibility to help children face up to these distractions, teach the skills required to deal with them and help children develop the emotional maturity to make good decisions during their life. Co-educational schools are best placed to do this.
The vast majority of parents choose co-educational schools, the global trend is towards boys and girls being educated together. More people than ever before recognize that educating boys and girls together is the best way of preparing young people for the challenges of the twenty first century.