Why Girls' Schools Work
Everything is girl-centred: In a girls’ school, the priority and focus is always girls: from uniform to sport; the choice of school play to opportunities for leadership: it is all tailored to what girls need. This means that we create an environment especially for them that they “own”, and they love it and thrive in it - one of the main reasons as to why girls' schools work.
Girls are free to be themselves: The truth is that girls are more likely to opt for masculine subjects like maths and the sciences in all girls’ schools than coeducational schools, where gender stereotyping inhibits free choice. At Leicester High more girls take the sciences and maths at A level than other subjects. Girls often need encouragement to take risks, and a girls’ school creates a safe place to do that. Without the judgement of boys, girls are active not reactive, and free to take part in extracurricular activities on their own terms. This builds their self-esteem, and gives them a better idea of their own ability.
Girls learn differently: There are many studies to show that this is true. In a girls’ school, the teaching is 100% suited to girls. This tailored teaching improves results. At A level, independent girls schools achieve on average nearly 8% more grade As than in coeducational schools. At GCSE this raises to 13%.
Girls' schools deliver: Research by The Good Schools Guide found that girls are far more likely to thrive, get GCSEs and stay in education if they go to a girls' school. The Girls Day School Trust (GDST) worked out that if the same proportion of girls did maths or science A levels in all schools as they do in GDST schools, there would be 66,000 more girls with physics, chemistry, biology and maths A level in the UK every year. The benefits of an all girls education do not end at school either: the number of GDST girls going on to take degrees in medicine is five times higher than the norm.
Girls from girls schools have great careers: In business, whilst women may still be woefully underrepresented in the list of FTSE 100 Board of Directors, evidence from the Institute of Education shows that women from single sex schools earn more than those from coeducational schools. Research published in the Economic Journal by Essex University economists looked at the relationship between gender and risk-taking. The research showed that girls in single sex schools were significantly more likely to take risks than girls in coeducational schools. The research concluded that once girls are placed in an all female environment they become less inhibited because they are not driven by cultural norms of how they should behave. Anecdotal evidence backs this up too: Alison Cooper, chief executive of FTSE 100 company Imperial Tobacco, went to a girls’ school, as did fund manager Nicola Horlick and financier Baroness Vadera.