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                   GIRLS' SCHOOLS -
WHAT ARE THEY REALLY LIKE?
Sue Hincks, President of the Girls’ Schools Association, busts some common myths and misconceptions about girls’ schools...
When you work in a girls’ school, you
do get rather tired of dated assumptions that life is all about lacrosse sticks
and skirt lengths, not to mention my particular favourite, ‘It’s not preparing them for the real world’. I’m happy to bust a few myths here, but the truth is, all those misconceptions evaporate when you actually step inside any one of our schools, and I urge anyone who ‘isn’t sure’ to go right ahead and do that.
I don’t hold with the view that girls’ schools don’t prepare children for the ‘real world’. In fact, girls’ schools can help girls to become more confident
and better placed to take on the ‘real world’ precisely because they provide an environment where they can grow into themselves without feeling scrutinised or under pressure to conform to gender- weighted expectations.
As for learning how to socialise with boys, these days home life, social
media and the vast range of inter-school activities that take place all provide plenty
of opportunity for socialising with boys and girls from a range of communities.
Girls’ schools provide an innovative, relevant education which minimises the gender stereotypes that can hold girls back. There is no such thing as a girls’ subject or a boys’ subject and girls are free to follow their inclinations with little of the pressure they might otherwise feel. With only girls in the classroom and on the sports field, both intellectual and physical confidence can grow. Every
girl has every opportunity to become a leader, a form captain, a Head of House. They learn not just how to shoulder responsibility, but also how to take risks, inspire and lead others.
Time and again, young women educated in girls’ schools prove this to be the case. A study by UCLA backs this up;
it found that, once they’ve moved on to higher education, the majority of young women from girls’ schools report higher self-confidence than their peers from co-ed schools. Research by the Institute
of Physics has also found that girls who attend independent girls’ schools are more likely to study Physics to A Level than girls in any other kind of UK school.
Our schools see this in action all the
time with students winning awards such as GSK Young Engineer of the Year
and Young Scientist of the Year. We see confident, high achievers in business, the arts and sport. Olympic gold medallist Alex Danson, for example, has told us that the sport and PE she encountered
in school was “without doubt” the springboard to her career and the source of her strong sense of identity and resilience.
Choosing a school is a highly individual experience. It has to feel right for your daughter. We are blessed, in the UK, to have an excellent choice of independent schools which includes co-ed and single sex schools of all shapes, sizes and locations. Being able to choose from such a diverse pool is one of the sector’s strengths and the fact that so many girls’ schools continue to thrive is testimony to their expertise in helping girls to excel in the 21st century.
The Girls’ Schools Association helps girls and their teachers to flourish.
Our schools educate over 82,000 pupils.
www.gsa.uk.com
“The majority of young women from girls’ schools report higher self- confidence than their peers from co-ed schools.”
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