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Academic Curriculum

Single Sex Education – so much to offer in 21st Century


From the Deputy Head of College, Patrick Brennan

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) recently questioned the value of single-sex schools, a view that contradicts anecdotal and statistical data. In saying that, the numbers of single-sex schools in Australia and indeed around the world continue to decline. Objectively too, it’s easy to locate research which supports this decline in single sex education.

ACER concedes however that single-sex schools achieve better results in NAPLAN testing: As students age their results come together. Results seem to suggest that in the younger years NAPLAN results are up to one year ahead among single-sex school students. These stronger results are also reflected in the UK where students in single-sex state schools achieve better results in their GCSE.

As a teacher who has taught in both systems it’s great to see girls excelling in STEM subjects and boys producing outstanding work in their hospitality subjects as we see here at Waverley College. Success in non-traditional curriculum areas is a clear benefit of single-sex education.

Many experts agree that boys and girls learn differently allowing teachers in a single-sex school to tailor their pedagogy to suit the particular learning needs of the gender they are teaching. Here at Waverley we know that boys learn by doing which is a key part of our Liberate pedagogy. Boys also respond to structure and react positively to fair, reasonable and consistent boundaries. My mantra this past year has been boys following ‘fair and reasonable requests’. Boys are encouraged to come and seek clarification from me if they feel they have been unfairly treated. The subsequent results are clear to see with the ongoing cultural change here at the College.

As far as declining numbers of single-sex schools, I suggest economic factors rather than educational philosophy are to blame here.

Parents who decide to send their son to Waverley College, or any other independent school for that matter, have the power in selecting the school which best suits their child’s needs, whether this be co-educational or single-sex, religious or secular.

The beauty of education in Australia is that parents have a choice and it is in my opinion there are benefits of both.

Unfortunately there is no perfect fit. It would be remiss of me to suggest one school or type of school benefits all.

I believe it is a great advantage of education in this country that we can offer our children a choice and we are a richer nation for the contribution all education sectors make.


Advance notice: Presentation evenings

Tuesday 5 December: Years 7 & 8, commencing 7.00pm (doors open 6.30pm), Br Lacey Gymnasium, Senior Campus

Wednesday 6 December: Years 9, 10 & 11, commencing 7.00pm (doors open 6.30pm), Br Lacey Gymnasium, Senior Campus

It is compulsory for all students from Years 7 – 11 to attend their Presentation Evening. All students are to wear their full College Winter uniform; therefore blazers are required.

Students who do not attend will be required to attend school on Thursday 7 December (day one of summer holidays).

Further details will be released in the coming weeks.