All-girls’ schools could lose a quarter of pupils as parents opt for mixed classrooms in world of ‘men and careers’
All-girls’ schools could lose a quarter of their British pupils as parents decide they’re no longer suitable for preparing their daughters for the modern world of ‘men, marriage and career’.
The number of pupils attending same sex schools belonging to the renowned Girls’ Schools Association has already dropped by 1.4 per cent in the last year.
And Lord Lucas, editor of The Good Schools Guide, has claimed all-girls’ schools need to ‘up their game’ to compete with the growing preference towards mixed classrooms.
He warned that girls’ schools that did not change with the times by improving their curriculum to emphasise subjects such as science and engineering – traditionally seen as remit of men – they risk losing a quarter of pupils in the next 20 years.
Lord Lucas told the Daily Telegraph: ‘Schools need to give positive reasons to choose a girls’ school.
‘The old reason that without boys they can concentrate may be true for some girls, but most girls who grow up in a co-educational environment do pretty well and find they can manage quite happily.
‘I question the old traditional arguments in favour of a girls’ school and I’d like to see something more fundamental and evidence-based and that would make a real difference to the choices parents make.’
Headmistress Dr Helen Wright of St. Mary’s School, in Calne, Wiltshire
His statement has come under fire by heads of all-girls’ schools who claim single sex schools are not going out of fashion and it is Lord Lucas’ views that are in fact ‘old-fashioned’.
Helen Wright, head of St Mary’s School in Calne, Wiltshire, told the Daily Telegraph: ‘It is an old fashioned attitude. He seems to have an idea of girls’ schools that they are convent-style establishments from the 19th century.’
All-boys’ schools are also seeing a decline with many fee-paying establishments changing their admission rules to accpet girls as well.
Today less than five per cent of schools listed in last year’s edition of The Good Schools Guide were all-boys’ schools compared to a quarter in the 1980s.
Written by SUZANNAH HILLS
Originally published on 28.04.2012 on the Daily Mail website.