Girls thrive in single sex schools because they do not have to impress boys, head says

The Telegraph is reporting claims from the female head of a leading boarding school that single sex education is better for teenage girls as it takes the pressure off them to try to impress boys in a “sexualised world”…

Rhiannon Wilkinson, head of Wycombe Abbey in Buckinghamshire, suggested female pupils were allowed to “remain girls for longer” at boarding school so they can focus on their work.

She added single boys hold girls back because girls mature faster and it is best for their education to grow in a “boys free” environment.

Speaking to the Telegraph, she said: “My wide educational experience in both mixed and girls’ schools has shown me clearly that girls are best served educationally in their teenage years in a boy-free work environment.

“Most psychological studies suggest that girls and boys develop at different rates and that girls are far in advance of boys through the teenage years: it is in a girl’s best interests to be educated separately, at least until boys catch up with her…”


More at: Girls thrive in single sex schools because they do not have to impress boys, head says


Do you agree with the comments made here by Rhiannon Wilkinson or would you say there are other factors that make mixed education a better option for girls and boys?

Some schools use the diamond method where mixed schools use single sex classes between 11 and 16 – is that a route that could or should be considered more often?

Please give us your feedback in the comments or via Twitter…


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  1. lennyvalentino

    SchoolsImprove This just sounds like another educator wishing kids were identikits so as to make their job easier.

  2. sacha_mbe

    SchoolsImprove it’s a problem that society by the age of 11 has groomed them to think that they have to impress boys. Raise self esteem!

  3. PJA1066

    sacha_mbe SchoolsImprove Rubbish, its basic biology. Same behaviour from both sexes even in primitive tribes.

  4. rachelstroud

    SchoolsImprove education is about more than academic results! The world’s diverse; getting used to that is vital to understanding others.

  5. TraceyUpchurch

    SchoolsImprove Girls thrive in single-sex schools, says head of girls’ single-sex school? Data/refs, please.

  6. @Dianne_Khan SchoolsImprove It’s just the head’s opinion based on her experience.  I can cancel it out with mine – I went to all girls’ school from 4-16.  Boys became mythical objects because we were separated from them.  The site of boys playing rugby at the school next door would send us into hormonal hysterics.

  7. @Dianne_Khan SchoolsImprove Good question.  In this case she is expressing an opinion, based on her interpretation of her experiences.  So, we can ignore her opinion if there is no other evidence.
    The evidence suggests very little befit to girls from single-sex ed except for the less-academic girls who are relieved of the distraction of relationships with older boys.

  8. inunityuk

    rachelstroud JamieGBarry SchoolsImprove good point and completely agree! Just being talking tonight about the power of sport in education

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