Wading through the literature on single sex versus co-educational schools it always strikes me how the debate about the strengths of each schooling type is often skewed – when it is single sex it is all about the academic results – when it is an article about co- education, it is usually about social mirroring and preparing students for life after school. This article has an excellent summary of some of the strengths of both forms of schooling. When asked about the benefits of co-education at a school like Newcastle Grammar, it is easy to give specific examples where I see boys and girls striving for academic excellence and understanding each others academic abilities as they form respectful relationships. Schools are microcosms of society and in the classroom and playgrounds, students in co-educational schools learn to find their voice, understand the opposite gender and develop strong learning and inter personal skills.
Of course in Newcastle, the norm is co-education and students who have grown up here would not think much about single sex education. Given the conclusion of the article that ‘the demise of single sex education is inevitable’ perhaps the debate is moot. However understanding why co-education is a better preparation all round is worthwhile understanding. Giving students abilities to negotiate the inevitable personal and professional challenges life throws at us and thrive rather than survive, is the increasing role played by schools. What a joy it is each day to see our students do just this as they grow and mature into young adults, confident to find their way in an increasingly complex world.
We were deeply saddened at the recent news of the death of the Principal at The Armidale School Mr Murray Guest who is quoted at the start of this article (link above). Mr Guest’s contribution to TAS and Independent education in this State was outstanding and he will be sadly missed.