Hold on a minute – now we’re told girls get better results at mixed schools

The Sunday Times is reporting that, in direct contrast to another report last week, an analysis of last summer’s grades suggests girls at leading mixed schools achieve better A-level results than those in single-sex schools. 

In this analysis, the paper has looked at the performance of girls in the top 50 schools in England and Wales and found that “the highest number of top A-level results” were found in five mixed schools before the highest single-sex school, St Paul’s Girls, came 6th.

The rankings have been calculated on the percentage of A*-B grades scored at A-level.

The paper notes that independent school heads have recently clashed over the benefits on single-sex versus co-educational schools.

In response to this latest analysis, the paper reports comments from one of the leading protagonist, Richard Cairns of mixed Brighton College as saying:

“…This research shows very clearly that girls in co-ed schools can achieve better than girls in highly academic, single-sex schools. 

“What this shows is that if you want to get three A*s and go to Cambridge you can do that by going to a co-educational school, you do not have to be shut away from boys. 

“I get fed up of the idea that bright, confident girls are incapable of intelligent thought simply because they have a boy next to them. I find it deeply patronising, verging on sexist.”

The Sunday Times also suggests that its new analysis shows that boys also do better when educated alongside girls (last week’s analysis suggested boys performed the same in both systems.

More at: Boys boost girls’ A-level results (subscription may be required)


See last week’s report: All-girl schools ‘get better GCSE results’


I guess you pays your money and takes your choice in terms of which analysis fits your preferred narrative, but what do you make of these latest insights from the Sunday Times?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

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  1. As usual the reports are using words like ‘do better’ or achieve more’ rather than giving us a number to compare.
    If we look at the actual effect-size of each piece of research we may well find that the effects are so small that ( eg +0.1 and -0.2) that they are, in fact, quite close, not ‘opposite’ or ‘in direct contrast’..

  2. ajjolley

    SchoolsImprove I have long thought the research showed boys did better in boys school & girls did better in mixed schools

  3. HeadDurham

    SchoolsImprove precisely. This is a distraction from the point that pupils at either will do well if they are well taught.

  4. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Cairns is the Head of a mixed school in a city with two successful all girls schools; coincidence? Hmmm.

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