When prospective parents agonise over the decision to enrol their daughter in a single-sex school, Campbelltown’s St Patrick’s College for Girls principal Sue Lennox has a simple answer: “Boys get away with stuff because ‘boys will be boys’ and that is a dreadful lesson for girls. That is what girls at co-ed school learn,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“When girls are in class without the boys, they can be themselves. It is a safe place where they can ask questions. They don’t feel they have to be anyone in particular because there are no boys. They grow in confidence.
“In co-ed schools, some subjects are considered ‘boy subjects’ and some are considered ‘girl subjects’. That is absent here.”
An analysis of NAPLAN results from across the country’s 304 single-sex schools shows there is another advantage to segregating boys and girls: they both perform slightly better when it comes to academic results.
After accounting for socio-educational background, the analysis by Catholic Schools NSW using NAPLAN test data from 2019 to 2022 found the single-sex advantage was particularly pronounced when it came to numeracy scores in boys’ schools.
Students enrolled in boys’ schools typically scored between 11 and 12 points higher than those in co-ed schools, after accounting for socio-educational background, the report said.
“Overall, the results of this analysis imply a modest academic advantage for single-sex schools, with the advantage generally greater for boys’ schools than girls’ schools,” the report said.
When it came to numeracy, girls who went to a single-sex school scored on average three points higher than those who attended a co-ed school, after differences in social background were considered.
Single-sex schools have the academic advantage, NAPLAN data reveals (Sydney Morning Herald)
Campbelltown’s St Patrick’s College principal Sue Lennox said girls at the single-sex school were free from the pressures of boys.CREDIT:WOLTER PEETERS