Senior schools: single-sex or co-education?


Boys, Girls or Co-Ed, as well as accommodating your child’s learning style, think about the type of school it is, whether it will suit your child and how it may shape your child’s outlook.

  • Boarding-as-a-preparation

    Boarding as a preparation for twenty-first century life

    Mediaeval libraries, buildings by Vanbrugh, world-class concert halls and theatres, martyrs’ relics, priceless artwork, winter ski resorts, or even a famous adventurer’s lifeboat – throughout my career, I have visited fantastic boarding schools here in the UK, as well as around the world, and in each case, I have been astonished by the beauty, opportunity and stimulation that boarding schools can offer. Such facilities doubtlessly enhance, but the questions I ask as an inspector are ‘So what? What is the outcome for pupils?’. 

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  • Creative-education

    The importance of a creative education

    One of the great strengths of a boarding school education has always been the range of experiences on offer to children and young people lucky enough to board. 

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  • boys

    The benefits of boys-only boarding

    I am not a single-sex zealot. That might seem odd coming from the Warden of Radley College, one of the great bastions of boys-only boarding, but it’s true. I get a little fed up with evangelical statements, backed up by supposedly incontrovertible statistics, that girls do better in this environment, boys in that. We all know that we can find the statistics we want. What really matters is whether a school is good or not: there are mediocre single-sex schools and excellent co-educational schools and I know which of these I would recommend. And what matters next, once you have defined and verified ‘good’ – different criteria can apply – is whether your child will be happy: if they are, they are much more likely to succeed.

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  • Bespoke-education

    What does a bespoke education actually mean?

    Almost all independent schools proudly assert that they offer a ‘bespoke’ education. As the Principal of a girls’ boarding and day school, I am often asked what this means in practice.

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  • Promoting good mental health in boarding schools 

    Times have changed across society – very much for the better – when it comes to talking about mental health issues. No serious employer, the Services included, is without a programme to encourage employees to be open about their experiences, and there are many great examples of individuals dealing successfully with challenges that would once have made working life almost impossible.

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  • engineering

    Girls and engineering and other STEM subjects

    UK plc has a major skills shortage. Engineering UK’s 2017 report The State of Engineering estimates an annual shortage of 20,000 skilled engineers, while other estimates range between 25,000 and 60,000. Given that engineering contributes 26 per cent of UK GDP nationally, this is a significant problem. More than 60 per cent of engineering employers say that a failure to recruit skilled staff is a barrier to business.  

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  • Making-sure-girls-learn

    Making sure girls learn to love physics at school

    Evidence from international studies, supported in part by research in the UK, has found that just a few key elements affect pupils’ attitudes to physics. It is up to us, the teaching profession, to ignite and develop a passion for physics in today’s learners. 

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  • boarder’s

    What do we mean by a boarder’s progress and how do schools measure it?

    Progress is one of those words we see a lot in education – you’ll read it in your son or daughter’s reports, on school websites and in inspection reports, and there are even league tables for some schools based on average academic progress in selected GCSEs. But is this the only type of progress, and is it reasonable to attempt to measure this concept?

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