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Girls Do Better At All-Girls Schools, Research Finds

School desks

Omar Chaudhry

According to studies and research, girls who attend all-girls schools get better results than girls with similar backgrounds who attend mixed schools. They also do better than boys in all-boys schools.

According to The Guardian, ”girls schools have been known to outperform other types of schools in England.”

FFT Datalab found from using data from the national Pupil Database that students in single sex schools do indeed get better grades on average compared to mixed schools. The Average attainment 8 score for pupils in state-funded single schools was 59% compared to 46.3% in 2023. This shows single sex schools were equivalent to 10% higher GCSE grades.

It was also found by FFT Datalab that single sex schools are more common in girls than boys: there are over 10,000 more girls than boys in single sex schools. There are many differing factors which lead to single sex schools doing better, such as a third of single sex schools being selective grammar schools, with harder entrance exams compared to mixed schools. Pupils going to state funded single sex schools are less likely to be disadvantaged or from low social income houses. The are also less likely to be identified as SEN (special educational needs).

According to St Margaret’s Hampstead in London, a total of 75% of girls at single sex schools achieve 5 good GCSE results, including Mathematics and English. They also went on to say that ”in all girls schools, girls have access to all aspects of education. While mixed schools may offer similar courses and extracurricular activities, it can be daunting for young girls to enter subjects and activities that are male dominated.”

The chief executive of the Girls’ Schools Association, Donna Stevens, who represents UK state and independent girls schools, said the findings backed previous research that suggested girls flourished in an environment geared towards them, including studying more female authors, and were more likely to succeed in subjects such as maths, sciences and computing.

“We know, and research shows, that boys typically in a classroom take up more of a teacher’s time, so if you remove boys from the equation the girls are going to have more teacher time, and that’s going to be helpful in terms of achievement,” Stevens said.

Impact also spoke to a former single sex pupil who attended an independent all girls school in Manchester. She said ”boys in mixed schools are much more loud, bashful, and confident so a girl being that environment makes it harder to concentrate and thrive at school. Teachers are tuned into the specific needs of female students.”

Studies also show that single sex school also tend to be mainly in the wealthier parts of the country. Nearly a quarter of pupils in London attended a single sex school, while 3% in the north east of England did.

Cheryl Giovannoni, the chief executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust, which runs 25 independent and state schools in the UK, said: “We continue to argue that the real value is added when girls are given the space they deserve to develop their full potential, and to make informed and unconstrained choices about interests, subjects and careers.”

Omar Chaudhry

Featured image courtesy of MChe Lee via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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