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......