The Girls Day School Trust, of which we are part, has recently released a research paper which outlines the argument for girls' schools and girls-only education. You can read the full paper at the bottom of the page.
GDST schools offer an environment in which girls' distinctive learning needs and preferences can be addressed as a principle and as a priority.
Here's the argument in brief:
- Gender affects the way that students experience education
- Girls face pressures to conform to gender stereotypes –
pressures which are stronger in the presence of boys
- Girls need and deserve space in which to develop their full
potential, and to make informed and unconstrained choices
about interests, subjects and careers
- In girls-only schools their needs and preferences can be fully
accommodated within a dedicated learning environment
- Successful girls’ schools are those in which a dedication to
girls’ education is reflected in their physical design, curriculum
and co-curriculum offer, teaching and learning approaches,
and in their whole-school culture
- Today’s girls’ schools serve to subvert, rather than support,
gender stereotypes and a priori assumptions, by offering an
education designed for and dedicated to the development
and empowerment of successful, happy, confident and
adventurous young women
What are the key ingredients of a GDST school learning environment?
- Commitment to excellence as schools - this is the non-negotiable starting point
- Design of purpose-built learning spaces with girls in mind
- Every curriculum and cocurriculum opportunity available to girls as of right
- Teaching and learning focused on girls’ learning needs and preferences
- A whole-school culture that respects, nurtures, challenges and empowers girls
A GDST Girl...
- Possesses a spirit of enquiry, exploring and evaluating evidence, ideas and arguments in a generous, critical and constructive way. She is able to articulate and defend her own views, and is respectful of the views of others. She is equipped to make connections between concepts and to grapple with big ideas.
- Collaborates to create and share knowledge. She is receptive to new ideas and is keen to learn new things and new skills. She appreciates the power of working together to a common purpose. She seeks to participate critically, considerately and constructively in her community, her society and her environment.
- Meets new challenges with resourcefulness and resilience. She is enterprising and adventurous, willing to take the initiative, and not afraid to aim at tough targets. She is creative and can adapt to situations requiring the application of her knowledge and skills in new and unexpected ways.
- Takes responsibility, not least for her own learning. She appreciates the importance of mental, as well as physical, health. She values fairness and acts with integrity. She is aware of herself and her impact, and is respectful towards others. She is sensitive to and appreciative of culture, context and community.