Boys and Girls.....

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Why is education one of the last bastions of single sex culture?

The Old chestnut of educational debates: Single sex or co-ed seems to have raised its head again after Tony Little, the Head Master of Eton College suggested that single sex helps children retain their childhood a little longer. Well, that seems a bit odd given that most single sex schools dress their children as mini adults and certainly do not encourage behaviour that could be described as childish.

Single sex education just has no merit in a modern world. Even The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews voted overwhelmingly to admit women as members!

If we want to preserve our children’s childhood (which surely we must?) then we ought to not only allow them to behave like children but we should encourage them to do so. Teach them to climb trees and clamber in and out of hedges. Encourage them to play tag. Let them make mistakes, brush them down and help them to get up and go again. It really does not matter whether they’re boys or girls and certainly in my School they certainly don’t seem to care – they see each other as children.

So, don’t enforce artificial separation if you want them to be children. Childhood is a precious time in its own right. It is not just about learning to be a proper grown up person.

In a recent Council Meeting our children discussed having a zip-wire. I thought it sounded like a great idea and the Treasurer has been sent away to investigate. But what was really interesting was that the older children, and I’m talking 16 and 17 year old girls and boys, really wanted swings and a playground. They asked why these should be preserved for Junior School children. They are of course right. We need to give them a school environment in which they are free to enjoy their childhood. After all, it’s difficult to climb a tree in a top hat and tail coat or a kilt and a blazer......


New comment

  1. January 4, 2016 00:44

    by Sionaidh Craigen

    Brilliant! Bring on the swings.. and chalk games and skipping

  2. November 23, 2015 15:05


    I couldn t agree more,my hart goes,yes,we don t feel alone in this way of thinking. In our local par,Golders Hill,at the time of our children growing up,there ws hardly a tree which our children,esspecially our son,did not climb.And we still go to this park on saturdays from time to time,and imediately we see our children climbing the old,and some new trees.
    And why not? In the course of our parenting,we have been judged for allowing our children to do this activity,once a teacher from the school have spotted them on a lovely blossomed tree and brought a BAD NEWS to our children school!!!
    Thanks also to pointing out about giving our children childhood,allowing them to be children.We can certanly say that our children age 11 an 13 still love a playground,we are the ones still popping in into a local young children playground in the evenings.But thanks for saying this,and how good to hear that children at your school felt free to express without shame that they like swings.Hope the swings are big enough so us parents sometimes can have ago too.
    best wishes in your good work!