MEDIA HUB

A Word from our Principal - All Girls Schools during Pandemic


As we well remember, last year many aspects of society changed as we adapted to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. One was the interruption to education as students moved to learning at home for a period of time. During this time, Girls Grammar staff provided a high-quality teaching and learning program, focusing on academics whilst prioritising connections and supporting students with their wellbeing.

Research released last week has now confirmed that single sex schools fared better during the pandemic. The Mission Australia’s National Youth Survey 2020 examined key factors such as mental wellbeing, life satisfaction, educational attainment and professional aspirations. Now in its 19th year, this is the largest annual survey of young people in Australia.

Data from this survey, collated for the Alliance of Girls Schools Australiasia, provided a number of key findings related to single-sex schools:

  • Bullying was less of a concern (9.6% of girls’ school girls were extremely or very concerned about bullying vs. 15.1% of all young females)

  • Girls from single-sex schools were also less likely than the average female to report mental health concerns (37.2% vs. 43.3%).

  • 61.3% of girls from the girls’ schools surveyed indicated feeling happy or very happy with their life compared with 54.4% of all female respondents.

  • single-sex educated girls displayed a stronger motivation to launch their careers and support themselves financially.

  • 88% of girls attending girls’ schools planned on attaining a university degree, compared to just under 70% of all Australian females.

  • girls attending single-sex schools reported higher participation in sports with 74% of girls’ school students playing sport regularly, on par with boys and ahead of all females at 69%.

In addition to the benefits for girls in an all girls’ environment, the online report also reflected many differences in the genders, reinforcing the important role of an all-girls’ environment in building confidence in girls and providing support for girls:

  • More than double the proportion of females were extremely/very concerned about coping with stress (56% compared with 25% of males).

  • A notably higher proportion of male respondents reported feeling extremely or very confident (54.9% compared with 44.5% of females).

  • More than double the proportion of females had been treated unfairly due to their gender (48.0% compared with 22.5% of males).

  • A greater proportion of males reported feeling very happy/happy with their lives as a whole (65.6% compared with 54.4% of females).

An all girls’ school provides an environment where every aspect of schooling is built around an understanding of girls, girls’ needs and getting the best outcomes for girls. At Girls Grammar, our Care program is specifically designed to support girls’ wellbeing at each developmental stage and our Sisters program provides girls with peer connections and positive role models. Our smaller class sizes ensure girls connect with their teachers, participate confidently, take academic risks and receive feedback that moves their learning forward. Our strong Old Girls networks and involvement encourage girls to launch their careers and pursue opportunities.

The benefits of an all girls’ learning environment are regularly reinforced through research, including this recent report from Mission Australia. The Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australiasia summarises the benefits:

  • Girls perform better academically in a girls’ school;

  • Girls hold every leadership position in a girls’ school;

  • Girls at girls’ schools have higher aspirations and are challenged to achieve more;

  • Girls are more confident in single-sex environments;

  • Girls’ wellbeing and self-concept benefit from single-sex classes;

  • Girls from girls’ schools are more likely to student science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

As the only girls’ school in Rockhampton, we believe strongly in our role of supporting girls to be clever, confident and connected and very proud to contribute to the School’s 130-year history of achieving successful outcomes for girls.


Deanne Johnston

Principal


Henebery, B. 2021, Single-sex schools fared better than national average during pandemic – study, The Educator Australia, 23 February

Tiller, E., Fildes, J., Hall, S., Hicking, V., Greenland, N., Liyanarachchi, D., and Di Nicola, K. 2020, Youth Survey Report 2020, Sydney, NSW: Mission Australia

Urban, R. (2021) Girls in a class of their own for optimism, The Australian, 12 February


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