Weighing up what matters in school choices: the single sex or co-ed debate

Ahead of Wednesday’s webinar with leading educator and author, Clarissa Farr, former High Mistress of St Paul’s Girls’ School, we untangle what matters to parents choosing a school and what to look for.


Click on the image above to watch the playback video of this webinar.

If you ask many parents looking at prospective schools for their children, a single-sex school is likely to be a consideration. For others, it will be the ultimate choice. As a parent choosing a school, it is hard to get past the fact that single-sex schools routinely outperform co-educational establishments in the various top 10s published each year for GCSE results – sometimes to the ratio of as much as four single-sex schools to one co-ed.Single-sex schools must be doing something right, right?

Weighing up what matters in school choices

This is a question I look forward to asking eminent educator, internationally renowned speaker, leadership expert and author Clarissa Farr, former High Mistress of St Paul’s Girls’ School – consistently one of the highest performing schools academically in England – when she joins Relocate Global’s Great International Education & Schools Fair webinar on Wednesday.
This valuable opportunity to hear Clarissa Farr and the panellists mine their wealth of experience about what parents should look for in a new school comes just a year or so too late for me. It certainly would have been handy to explore properly the view I had when talking to friends about school choices for our family of three children that “the workplace is co-ed, so why not practise getting along with everyone now, irrespective of their gender, at school?”

What is a school for?

In the end, school choice often comes down to how best to support the individual needs of each child. The relative benefits of single-sex and co-education is just one aspect of the decision – and possibly incidental.These aspects of weighing up the benefits of different schools often lead into the wider conversation of why school matters and what is it for: a question being thrown into particularly sharp focus now. The pandemic continues to disrupt the seemingly rock-solid aspects of everyday life, like our workplaces and school routine, meaning that everything is up for discussion as we all seek to build back better. Meanwhile, long-term challenges remain around reskilling for the digital economy, inclusion and the green economy.As Clarissa Farr writes in her book, The Making of Us: Why school matters, “We need to think much more carefully about what education consists of, and what will service all our children best as they move into 21st-century adulthood.”

What does a 21st century education look like? 

These are all common themes also emerging from discussions in this month’s Great International Education & Schools Fair webinars. The energising community of speakers coming together to talk international education and schools encompass education consultants, transition expertise, global mobility and relocation professionals, tutors, teachers and parents.School communities and the education they offer are about teaching staff and leadership, the curriculum, location, peer groups, languages spoken and taught, and enrichment opportunities outside of the school day. All of these are increasingly critical aspects of the framework for individual decision-making.

Meet the speakers

Find out more about all of the speakers and panelists who participated in the autumn 2020 Great International Education & Schools Fair.

Find the perfect school from the comfort of your home

Now is the ideal time to discover the right school for your child. As schools hosted Open Days and Virtual Events throughout the autumn, we used the opportunity throughout November to showcase the schools around the world that welcome relocating families and international students, not only at the beginning of a new academic year, but also at any time, with rolling admissions to meet the needs of families on the move.

The next Great International Education & Schools' Fair is coming in spring 2021

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