Girls do better at single-sex schools

Single-sex schools improve GCSE results

Girls are far more likely to thrive, get GCSEs and stay in education if they go to a single-sex school, according to new research.

The study conducted on behalf of the Good Schools Guide, also revealed that pupils who are struggling academically when they start secondary school reap the biggest rewards of girls-only schooling.

The analysis of the GCSE scores of more than 700,000 girls taught in the state sector concludes that those at girls’ schools consistently made more progress than those in co-ed secondaries.

The number of girls schools has dwindled in the state sector since the 1970s and has been dropping more recently among private schools, as more and more parents demand co-ed schools. Only 221,000 girls and 160,000 boys are now taught in state single sex secondaries out of a total school population of more than 3.5 million.

Janette Wallis, editor of the Good Schools Guide, said: ‘A lot of parents will look at the benefits of co-ed schools, like the fact that girls and boys are educated side-by-side preparing them for the world of work and life. But to disregard this evidence would be a mistake.’

She said the effect could be down to girls working better without boys ‘distracting’ them but acknowledged the fact that educationally aspirant parents could seek out girls-only schools, which could also make a difference.

Alice Sullivan, a researcher at the Institute of Education, University of London, and a specialist in single-sex schooling, said: ‘It is very interesting that girls seem to be making more progress at single-sex schools. It does support a body of research evidence that girls do better in single-sex environments.’

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