The benefits of co-education and why it could be right for your child…

Co-education is increasingly popular among parents who see that, in exposing young people to ‘real-world situations’, they are also giving their child the best preparation for modern life and careers. More than 80% of secondary schools in the UK are already co-educational, but as it’s increasingly seen as a marker of moving with the times, there are more and more schools moving away from single sex education in favour of welcoming pupils of all genders.

Forest School in London, E17, for example, welcomed its first girls back in 1980, becoming the only London independent to operate a ‘Diamond Structure’ – single-sex classes from 11-16 with mixed classes in Prep and Sixth Form. The school is now embarking on the next chapter in moving to full co-educational teaching and learning from this September. This is part of a strategic plan to ensure it maintains holistic education that fully prepares young people for the opportunities and challenges of today’s and tomorrow’s world.

So what are the benefits of co-education for your child and why should you consider sending your child to a co-ed school?

Prep Reportage Co Ed benefits of co-education
Girls and boys at Forest School in Epping are taught together

In co-ed schools, children are taught gender equality from a young age

An environment where each gender is taught and treated the same promotes equality. Children who attend a co-educational school will grow to respect and appreciate other people’s opinions and points of view, whatever their gender. In a co-educational system, children learn the importance of equal opportunities from a young age.

A co-educational environment helps pupils build confidence and social skills

Pupils in mixed gender education tend to develop better communication skills with people from the opposite gender. Socialising with the opposite sex from an early age, also helps pupils to build confidence. This prepares pupils for the workplace once they leave school.

For example, at Forest School in London, E17, boys and girls are taught together and spend time together during break, at lunchtime and after school. Using the same playgrounds, fields, libraries, social areas, tuck shops, dining hall, buses to school, and engaging in co-educational co-curricular activities such as drama, music, clubs and societies, trips and meetings gives them lots of opportunities to socialise and work together.

Co-educational schools promote healthy competition

Competition is an important part of life and providing opportunities for healthy competition helps children prepare for life outside of school. The benefits of co-education is that it provides opportunities for the different genders to both work together and compete against each other – mirroring life in the world of work.

At Forest School, for example, pupils are supported by the House system, which promotes a sense of belonging and pride. Every child is part of a House, and this brings opportunities to explore different aspects of teamwork and leadership within a broader peer group. Houses are where firm friendships are formed and girls and boys work together to learn the value of community strength, mentoring, loyalty, and competition for highly valued prizes such as the House Cup. 

Co-education helps pupils develop understanding of different perspectives and mutual respect

Learning alongside the opposite sex gives pupils the benefit of different perspectives inside of the classroom. In a co-education system, both female and male perspectives are constantly explored. This broadens pupil’s horizons and helps them to better understand the different ways in which each gender communicates. This setting is completely in tune with the working world they will one day join. 

Co-education breaks down barriers between the sexes

A mixed sex education can help to break down gender stereotypes. If each gender is given the same opportunities inside and outside of the curriculum, misconceptions about gender can be overcome. For example, it’s healthy for boys to see girls excel in traditionally male-dominated areas as STEM subjects, and vice versa.

Forest School, for example, encourages all pupils, whatever their gender, to pursue their individual passions and interests within a robust academic framework. Diverse opportunities are on offer and boys and girls are exposed to subjects and ideas beyond Keystage essentials. Pupils of both sexes can see each other succeed in a wide range of co-curricular activities – from sports to music and drama. Clubs, societies and enrichment activities are also an opportunity for boys and girls to work alongside each other, providing a chance to explore the world beyond the school gates. 

This is a sponsored post created in collaboration with Forest School, an independent day school located on the edge of Epping Forest for pupils aged 4-18.

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