Empowering Girls Within A Co-ed Environment

  • Parents Only

Choosing a school for your daughter is no easy feat. Once you’ve decided public or private, local or further afield, there’s also the added dimension of single-sex or co-ed schooling to navigate.

These days parents are even looking into the social benefits of a school which can be just as important as academic merits. There is a plethora of research that suggests sending your daughter to a coed school comes with improved social and communication skills, a greater sense of diversity and prepares them for the real world ahead. 

When you think about it, single-sex schools were created to meet the needs of a completely different era - and the roles of women have changed dramatically (for the better) since then.

“The general decline in single-sex schools is both a good indicator of the new norm of equality and the movement towards avoiding stereotypes,” explains Julian Wilcock from John Colet School, a coed primary school on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

“Changes in education over the past 50 years have resulted in a rise in academic results for girls in all subjects across all schools. The empowerment of girls within a co-ed environment is socially and culturally a microcosm of what we are looking for beyond schooling.”

While some believe that single-sex schools are imperative for the different learning styles inherent in boys and girls, others, like Julian, believe that these are nothing more than vintage stereotypes. 

“Expecting that 50 per cent of the population learn in a particular way disregards individual differences,” explains Julian. “In my experience there is more diversity of learning differences within boy or girl groups than between them.”

At John Colet School they are fortunate to have small class sizes (average of 17), with teachers staying with the same class for a number of years.

“In this situation you really do see individual styles coming to the fore and being able to be nurtured,” says Julian.

Furthermore a coed school offers girls an environment that gives them the chance to express themselves and share their views, teaching both genders about equality and respect. Such an important trait to foster in our daughters - and, of course, our sons.

There has been lots of media attention on NAPLAN results and this can often be the first thing that parents look for in a school. While it’s important that a school performs to a high standard academically, John Colet School tries to look beyond standardised testing, focusing  on the whole child.

“While we very well known as a leader through our NAPLAN results, as a non-selective school our focus is on progress rather than attainment,” explains Julian.

“All children are at a different stage of their learning journey and it is most important that there continues to be challenge so that they are able to embrace their own growth. Success for us is that our children are resilient, know their strengths and areas which are to be developed and have a clear sense of self when entering high school.”

Speaking of high school, John Colet School  unequivocally prepares your child for her future through academic, cultural, physical, moral and spiritual dimensions.

“While well known for our strong academic results our school is very much centred on the development of girls and boys through a wholistic curriculum that focuses on character, self-expression and the development of skills in attention,” explains Julian.

“We do this through yearly productions of Shakespeare, regular lessons in classical languages, singing and philosophy. Our mindfulness program of pausing throughout the day has been in place since the school’s very beginning. Our students go on to a wide range of high schools and we ensure that they are academically ready, but more importantly are resilient and confident to meet the broad range of challenges that they will face.”

To find out more about what John Colet School can offer your child, click here.