Single sex schooling versus co-ed

Which is best for children?

As a father of two daughters - both of whom have happily turned out OK, I heartily agree with Dux so far as secondary education goes. I think it’s different at primary level up to the age of 11. 

What Dux said is true at a very general level, but it also depends on the nature of the school.

I went to a boys only primary school and a co-ed secondary school, which is quite unusual. I think co-ed secondary schools work fine where they are relatively small (as my secondary school was), e.g. up to 80-100 children per year. Getting co-ed secondary schools to work well is more of a challenge when the numbers are 200-300 children a year. A problem that I see with larger secondary schools in London is children segregating themselves - not only boys and girls being separate tribes, but also children of different class and/or ethnic backgrounds tending to be friends with those of the same backgrounds. In my experience, smaller schools can be better for teaching children how to get on with, and become friends with, other children who are not like them.

For girls I lean towards mixed for secondary given that all girls' schools seem to see disproportionate amounts of eating disorders and bullying (already seen lots of evidence of this at daughter's friends' schools). That said, mixed probably equals numerous requests for nude selfies. Bloody minefield. 

I think the general thinking on this is that girls act as a calming influence on boys but boys are disruptive to girls.   That said I dont think boys only education is a good thing for adult women.

I went to a girls until 16 and co-ed after. I did much better in a co-ed environment academically and loved having boys and girls at school. Actually the eating disorders were far worse at the co-ed place amongst my peers than at the girls school. Maybe because we knew boys were judging our looks and in the mid 90s they definitely did that behind our backs and to our faces. 


We had two girls in our sixth form. That must have been the worst of all worlds for them. I hope they got a discount. 

I thought the argument fir girls’ secondary svhools was that girls are likely to do better in STEM subjects without male competitio (/intimidation?)

certainly the case for me. But that was in the late 70’s/ early eighties 😉

Minkie I resented the fact that our school made us do all three sciences separately for GCSE which meant that I couldn't do two of the arts subjects that I wanted to do. 

You mean they were all compulsory? Werent in my day, I only did physics and chemistry. Or do you mean you did biology too so no room for arts subjects?

I did nine - o levels in those days - that was quite enough.

Yep. We had to do chemistry, physics and biology, all the compulsories plus either history or geography, leaving two choices. I did Lat and GK but would have loved to have done another modern language and RS. 

we had to do only maths, 2 x english, french, latin plus at least one science and at least one arts. 2 choices beyond that.

Judo, I suspect that if I'd been to your school and been forced to do the three sciences separately, I would not be a lawyer today.

Primary school best mixed.

Post puberty, for a few years, a culturally-dominant minority of boys are leering oafs.  Hence single-sex secondary school better for girls. 

Boys - it doesn't make much difference.