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A Perspective on Single-Sex Education: What Sets Girls Grammar Apart?

Updated: Oct 20, 2023


A recent report from the Girls' Day School Trust (GDST), asserted that 'girls possess unique learning needs, styles, and preferences that differ from those of boys. They experience the external environment in their own distinct way. Even today, gender stereotypes and varying expectations can influence girls' behaviour, attitudes, and choices, unless addressed within the school environment.'


The report argues that 'in single-sex schools, girls are less likely to conform to preconceived gender stereotypes. They enjoy greater freedom in selecting subjects, exhibit a propensity for risk-taking and innovation, perform exceptionally well in examinations, and have more opportunities to demonstrate leadership qualities.' However, the GDST acknowledges that 'successful single-sex education goes beyond mere organisational structure; it must be underpinned by a set of principles and supported by practices that nurture, challenge, and empower girls.'


Essentially, the GDST report highlights the positive impact of girls' schools on teaching and learning. It also acknowledges that not all independent girls' schools achieve the same level of academic success and student empowerment, emphasising that separating students solely by gender may not be the sole determinant of success. Instead, the success of girls-only schooling lies in how girls experience the learning environment.


While gender-generalised approaches may benefit some boys, recognising the existence of gender differences in learning is essential. Girls and boys interpret and engage with their environment differently, and thus require tailored educational approaches. Schools like Girls Grammar that have achieved success in empowering girls do so by customising their pedagogy to meet the unique needs of their female students.


This leads us to ponder: What sets Girls Grammar apart? The aim of single-sex education is consistent for both boys and girls. Students find satisfaction in learning, feeling safe and secure within their educational journey. However, it is crucial not to confuse safety and security with comfort. At Girls Grammar, our girls are encouraged to experience academic discomfort, take risks, and embrace challenges as integral parts of their learning journey.


Collaborative learning with peers and teachers, and the freedom to express their thoughts without the fear of ridicule, significantly benefit our girls.


Dr John Fry

Deputy Principal - Studies

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