Choosing the right school for your son or daughter can be a difficult process and one that can cause a fair amount of stress if you are unsure what the best course of action is. While school isn’t the be all and end all of a child’s upbringing, it certainly is somewhere where they will learn a lot of their behavior and of their knowledge, and somewhere that they will simply spend a lot of their time.
One of the decisions you need to make when choosing which school to send your child to is whether to go for a single sex or mixed sex education – and this is something that can have a big bearing on their school experience. Here we will look at the pros and cons of single sex schools and whether they are right for you and your child.
Pros of Single Sex Schools
If you send your child to a single sex school then there will be fewer distractions from the opposite sex that could in theory damage their education. If you went to a mixed sex school then you probably have memories of staring across the classroom at girls/boys rather than listening to the teacher, and this probably meant there were things that you didn’t pick up on as a result that you otherwise would have. If you want your child to be as focused as possible in school then a single sex school is a good way to achieve that.
The relationships between kids and teenagers in school cause a lot of drama and are responsible for a lot of trouble. A lot of what we do we do in order to impress members of the opposite sex – even if that means taking up smoking or joining a gang. At the same time a lot of the time we fall out with our friends is over a girl or a guy, and just wouldn’t have happened if we were in a single sex school. You’d be surprised at how much less ‘bitchiness’ there is between girls in a single sex school, and by how much less macho posturing there is from the guys.
Longer ‘As a Child’
At the same time sending your children to an all-boys or all-girls school is a great way to keep them young and to avoid them ‘growing up to soon’ and thus missing out on some of their youth. This is a very real concern that some parents have – that they will find themselves ‘tied down’ in a relationship, experimenting with sex, and getting their heart broken too young when they should still be out there having fun and enjoying being young. There’s plenty of time for relationships in the real world soon enough…
Cons of Single Sex Schools
Part of the idea of going to school is to prepare your child for ‘real life’ when they leave. There is no doubt that ‘the real world’ is mixed gender rather than single sex and so that means that the best way to do this would be to emulate that in school. Further, learning to talk to members of the opposite sex is a very important skill and one that can leave you at a significant disadvantage if you’ve never had a chance to practice. By experimenting with relationships now when things are less serious, your child will be better at managing and finding them when they leave (in theory anyway).
By sending your child to a school where they’ll encounter more diversity this gives them more appreciation, understanding and sympathy for people they encounter in their adult lives. This can help them to be more sympathetic, more well rounded and generally more open minded about different things. It’s also a good idea to try and develop the feminine side in your male children and the more masculine side in your girls.
Girls bring a lot to a school that boys don’t and vice versa. If you go to a mixed school you will have a bigger wealth of experiences, and those who do not may feel as though they are ‘missing out’. Particularly when you consider that perhaps the ‘norm’ overall is for schools to be mixed, it’s very possible that a child might feel short changed by not going to a mixed school, and of course as a parent the ambition is to ensure that your child is as happy as they can be in their school.
In conclusion there’s no right or wrong answer, but rather it depends on how you feel personally and how your partner feels. Very often we end up wanting to send our children where we went when we were younger if we had a good experience. It also depends on an extent on the local schools in your catchment area, and on what your child wants. You can always try to counteract some of the negative aspects too in either case – if your child goes to a mixed school then emphasize the importance on their having fun and focusing on school work, and if they go to a single sex school then consider helping them to meet children of the opposite sex in other ways such as extra curricula activities.