Number of single-sex private schools ‘halved in 20 years’

The Telegraph is reporting figures from the latest ISC census that suggests the number of single-sex private schools has almost halved in the last 20 years amid a long-term “shift towards co-education”…

Just 250 schools fee-paying schools now wholly cater for either boys or girls, down from 460 in the early 90s.

Single-sex schooling is now much more popular for older pupils, with almost four-in-10 pupils split by gender during the vital GCSE years compared with just one-in-10 at nursery level.

The long-term decline led to claims that parents favour mixed schooling as a more ideal “preparation for life”, with one headmaster branding single-sex schooling “unnatural” and more emotionally-charged…

But independent school leaders insisted single-sex schooling was still hugely popular and declines seen in the past had largely been arrested over the last four or five years.

Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) and former headmaster of Harrow, said: “The great majority of single sex schools are thriving and have no intention of becoming co-educational.”

According to the latest ISC annual census, the number of boys’ schools dropped from 230 to just over 100 between 1994 and 2014. Girls’ schools declined from 230 to around 150.

In all, wholly single-sex schools accounted for 34 per cent of the total ISC membership 20 years ago, compared with 24 per cent this year.

Some 90 per cent of school nursery classes are now made up of both boys and girls, but numbers drop to 60 per cent in Years 9, 10 and 11 when pupils study for GCSEs…

Janette Wallis, senior editor The Good Schools Guide, said: “Single-sex schooling continues its long term decline. The single-sex schools that are still going strong are the ones parents choose because they are fabulous schools, not because they are single sex.”…

More at: Number of single-sex private schools ‘halved in 20 years’

Is this an inevitable change in today’s society or is there still a strong role for single sex schools, perhaps more so at secondary than primary levels? What do you think? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

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Categories: Private Schools.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Formerly single-sex school becoming co-educational is purely a business decision. They can now admit 100% of children

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove It has nothing to do with “preparation for life”, purely keeping numbers at a level that keep the school sustainable

  3. diasporahighsch

    SchoolsImprove Still in favour of the diamond approach which gives the best of both worlds. Genders taught separately excpt in Recpt & 6Frm

  4. diasporahighsch

    SchoolsImprove Single sex teaching most successful when the very different learning styles of both genders are addressed. Great motivation!

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