The idea of single-gender schools has come under increased scrutiny. Life is co-educational, so why shouldn't schools be as well? Do boys (or girls) really perform better on their own? Is this just the perpetuation of tradition against the rising tide of inclusivity? Is there any real evidence for the benefits of single-gender education? The logic seems compelling and several prominent boys' schools have recently moved towards co-education. So why choose a school for boys?
The issues in this (often heated) discussion are complex and can seem more reflective of larger social questions of class and gender rather than an honest appraisal of what is best for each student. Boys as well as girls can flourish in both single and coeducational schools.
The International Boys’ School Coalition recently published a brochure titled Why a School For Boys? that looks at five benefits of a boys’ school. You can view the full article here or read our summary below.
Boys’ schools understand and celebrate boys
Boys’ schools understand the intensity and complexity of boyhood. Teachers at boys’ schools have the experience necessary to know that boys develop at different rates and can support growth for each individual boy. They understand the different circumstances of the primary school boy compared with the young man preparing for university and strive to support each individual’s needs and aspirations.
Flexible timetables permit boys to move around frequently – an important part of allowing boys to be physically active each day. Faculty members acknowledge the full range of boys’ emotions and vulnerabilities. They help to broaden their spheres and, ultimately, foster their ability to interact meaningfully with girls and women.
Boys’ schools seek first to build good men
For boys’ schools, the ultimate goal is to build character and help each boy to make responsible choices and live an honourable life. By making a commitment to integrity, boys’ schools can educate students on how to become good men, and emphasise how this decision informs every aspect of his day.
Boys’ schools know that boys develop and learn in different ways.
Boys and girls develop and learn at a different pace — this is a well-known fact. One of the biggest advantages of a single-sex education is an opportunity to create a learning environment that accommodates the needs of boys and young men. In a boy-centered school, teachers introduce more kinesthetic and sensory experiences into their curriculum, immersing boys more fully in their learning.
Boys’ schools teach in ways that boys learn best
Teachers who are specialists in boys’ education consider the interests and talents unique to boys when preparing lessons. They know boys work best in groups, so staff often use team-based projects on a regular basis. And because they understand the rhythm of a boys’ classroom, they can incorporate physical activity into class time and extended breaks like recess into the school day.
Boys’ schools help students reach their full potential
Non-traditional subjects, like the arts and languages, are emphasised in boys’ schools to assist students in discovering their natural creativity and imagination. These subjects help to develop boys’ communication skills and encourage them to pursue other strengths and interests.
Boys’ schools play a key role in developing ‘emotionally literate boys’ who respond to others with empathy and compassion.
Boys’ schools foster brotherhood and lifelong friendships
Boys’ schools are unique in that students are able to develop a special bond of brotherhood. This is nurtured through boys working together in the classroom, on the playing field or in the performance hall. Many graduates from boys’ school say the bonds they developed with their peers are among the most important benefits gained from their schooling.
Choosing the right school for your son is not easy. Our comprehensive step-by-step guide can help you through the process.