Over the last decade, as many boys schools across NSW have begun to move to co-education, enrolments in all girls schools continues to grow. The most recent figures show an increase in enrolments in 96% of single sex secondary schools and this continues to reflect the strong belief amongst parents and teachers that girls, especially teenage girls, learn best and take more opportunities in a single sex environment.
Mission Australia’s 2022 Australia Youth Survey showed that girls 15-19 in all girls’ schools coped better with stress, body image and bullying. In each of the areas measured “girls in single sex schools have a more positive self-perception of wellbeing…. and a “higher prevalence of positive attitudes to studying at school.”
Additionally, research conducted over many years has shown that girls are more likely to tackle higher levels of Mathematics, Science and Technology in an all-girls school and they are more inclined to consider STEM careers. Earlier this month, I was privileged to see 15 Year 12 Extension Science students present their research to a panel. Each student works with a mentor in this course and develops an original thesis across all science disciplines. This is girls’ education at its absolute best as these students tackle a difficult course in a supportive and challenging environment that breaks female stereotypes and for many, opens doors to future study and career.
At present we are conducting enrolment interviews for 2025 at KRB and, no matter the age of the girl coming into the school, parents are all asking about opportunities for their daughters to interact with boys as they move through their secondary education. A modern education demands we indeed present them with moments to grow and learn from each other. Our new strategic plan will look at meaningful ways to ensure we meet this need. However, parents also want to know about the opportunities in sports, in music and drama, the activities that will lead to safe risk taking and confidence building and the academic environment their daughter will thrive in. It is clear that parents are seeking an ‘all girls’ education for their teenage daughter because of the wider opportunities it offers.
Research continues to support the benefits of single sex education for teenage girls as we evolve and continue to create confident young women who are able to find their place in a complex world.