In the second in our series, this week we look at the benefits of co-education verses single sex schooling and hear from Stephen Jones, 13th Warden of St Edwards School about why he believes a co-educational setting offers the best preparation for real life
A hundred years ago there were many more single-sex schools in this country – including St. Edward’s. Many of them have since admitted girls, and there are some that have made this change relatively recently. I am a great believer in educating girls and boys together – there are many reasons why it brings huge benefits to pupils, and the school community.
Instilling gender equality is fundamentally more organic in a co-educational setting. Pupils mix naturally together every single day, coming together in the classroom, at mealtimes, in the arts, music and on the sports field. That ideology is played out through daily life at co-educational schools, and the pupils learn from each other socially as well as intellectually. This can only be an advantage.
A good education instils in its pupils the skills, knowledge and thinking to enable them to benefit the world around them. An outlook that values both genders equally and promotes tolerance for the opinions of others will inevitably help pupils to master the ability to challenge and change conventional wisdom.
“If we can develop young people who will mature into 25-year-olds who have a positive and beneficial effect on the society around them, then we have succeeded. I believe that to do this, co-education is the best way; we cannot prepare our pupils for real life unless they learn to understand and work with the rest of the population.”
At our own school, we have pupils from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and countries, and this, coupled with our co-educational status, offers a broad representation of wider society and its diversity. We believe this prepares our pupils more readily not only for the world of work ahead of them but also for a life of creativity and purpose.
It is likely that a co-educational setting lends itself more readily to a more balanced gender mix of teachers, which means that role models exist at the school in all guises, in female and male staff and senior pupils, sports teachers and pastoral figures. We have benefitted enormously at Teddies since we began to welcome female pupils in 1982, and later this year we will fix that absolute faith in the co-educational system into the infrastructure of our school – and answer the demands of more and more parents – by opening our first fully co-educational boarding house, which is already proving popular with prospective parents.
For similar articles read ‘What are the benefits of single sex education for girls”