March 2012 issue

News Round Up
Inside the industry
Advisor Survey
Secondary Focus 1
Secondary Focus 2
Tertiary Focus 1
Tertiary Focus 2
Vocational Focus
Special Report
Course Guide
City Focus
Market Analysis

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UK single-sex education

With girls and boys maturing and learning at different rates, curriculum tailored to specific academic and pastoral needs can be beneficial. However, some operators are incorporating co-ed learning into their provision, writes Nicola Hancox.

Keen to expound the benefits of single sex education in the UK independent school sector, Tom Dawson, Headmaster at Sunningdale School – a family run boys’ preparatory school of 100 pupils based in Berkshire – says, “Girls mature much more quickly than boys and I think that between the ages of ten and 16 they do very well at single sex schools.” He adds, “I think boys learn very differently to girls and in a single sex environment you are able to tailor the teaching and learning to the specific needs of the boys.”

Anthony Goddard, Headmaster at Aysgarth School in North Yorkshire – the only all-boys prep school in the North of England – agrees, adding that lessons and activities provide for the needs and interests of their pupils, namely boys aged between eight and 13. “They learn better, stay uninhibited, and enjoy life more,” he notes.

Dr Tim Eaton, Director of Development & Communications at St Leonards-Mayfair, an independent Catholic day and boarding school for girls located in East Sussex, is another strong advocate of single-gender education. However, he asserts that same-sex education is not necessarily the ideal, and that academic success in either type of provision is wholly dependent on the individual. He explains, “All schools stress to students that their institution’s strength lies in the fact that everyone is treated like an individual. The irony is that they immediately undermine that position by asserting that single-sex education is always superior to co-education, or vice versa, where in fact there are no hard and fast rules about who will flourish in one environment or the other.”

From his experience, Dawson reports that single sex boarding is particularly popular among Spanish clientele. “Spanish families like the traditional boarding set-up and they certainly seem to prefer single sex,” he observes. To date, international students represent 10 per cent of the total student body, something they hope to maintain, although, he says, “demand for places has certainly risen”.

At St Leonards-Mayfair, international students represent 15 per cent of all students on campus and according to Eaton there is a wide selection of nationalities present. In general, Mexican, Spanish, Nigerian and Chinese families have shown a predilection for single sex provision, he says.

According to the Independent Schools Council (ISC) – the organisation that represents 1,234 schools in the UK independent education sector – there are more independent girls’ schools in the UK than there are boys. In fact, 66 per cent of single sex schools in the independent sector are targeted towards girls. Principal nationalities in the 2011 academic year – as charted by the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA), a professional association representing the heads of leading independent girls’ schools in the UK, included Hong Kongese (1,673), Chinese (571) and Spanish (229).

The Royal School in Farnham has taken a slightly different approach to its social and academic provision by adopting the ‘diamond teaching method’ – a programme whereby boys and girls are educated together at both pre-prep and prep level. This specific model, explains Kit Bithrey-George, Marketing Development Director at the school, offers students the very best of both worlds. “The principal advantage of the diamond model is that boys and girls will be taught in a way that maximises their learning but enables many co-ed experiences to exist side by side.” Indeed, students are tutored in co-educational classes up to the age of 11 and again in Sixth Form (ages 16-18), separating them during the ages of 11-to-16 where research has proven single sex education is the most advantageous, says Bithrey-George.

Providers employ a variety of methods when marketing their school internationally. “We have a wide ranging network of education agents and we keep in touch with weekly newsletters, the website and more bespoke correspondence when appropriate,” informs Bithrey-George, noting that they also encourage agent visits to the school and like to visit agencies themselves.

Aysgarth School, relates Goddard, is currently a member of the York Boarding Schools Group – a collection of schools in and around the city of York – which has enabled the members to pool resources and host a number of agent visits. “This has worked well,” he affirms. The school has also welcomed several pupils as a direct result of personal recommendation. “Our reputation speaks for itself and I am always happy when we receive enquiries this way.”

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Sara's New York Homestay LLC  

English Australia  
English UK  
English UK London  
Groupement FLE  
Languages Canada / Langues Canada  
MEI Ireland  
Perth Education City  
Quality English  
Study Gold Coast  
English in Chester  

Access Macquarie Limited  
Bond University  
ILSC Australia  
Impact English College  
International House Sydney Teacher Training & Prof  
Language Studies International  
NEAS Australia  
Perth Education City  
Study Gold Coast  
University of Newcastle Language Centre  
University of New South Wales  

CERAN Lingua International  

Bow Valley College  
Destination Canada  
Global Village  
Greater Victoria School District  
Guard Me  
ILSC - International Language Schools of Canada  
Languages Canada / Langues Canada  
Niagara College  
Ottawa International Student Programmes (OISP)  
Omnicom School of Languages  
Saint Mary's University  
Study Abroad Canada Language Institute  
Upper Madison College  
Vancouver English Centre  
Victoria International Academy  
York University English Language Institute  

iMandarin Language Training Institute  

Tandem Santiago  

Angel Language Academy  
Ardmore Language Schools  
Askham Bryan College  
Cambridge Education Group  
Camp Beaumont  
Capital School of English  
Centre of English Studies  
EAC Language Centres and Activity Camps  
ELC London - Hampstead School of English  
English Studio  
English UK London  
International House London  
INTO University Partnerships  
Kaplan International Colleges  
Prime Education  
LAL London  
London School of Business & Finance  
London School of English  
Malvern House College London  
Princes College School of English  
Queen Ethelburga's College  
School of Oriental and African Studies  
St Giles International  
Study Group  
Sussex Coast College Hastings  
University of East Anglia  
University of Essex - International Academy  
Wimbledon School of English  
SR Events  
Study World  
STM Star Awards  

Cambridge Esol  
City and Guilds Branch Office in Europe  
TOEFL Educational Testing Service  
Trinity College London  

Accent Francais  
Alliance Française Lyon  
Ecole Suisse Internationale  
Groupement FLE  
Langue Onze Toulouse  
LSF Montpellier  
Lyon Bleu International  
Paris Langues / Club CEI des 4 Vents  

F+U Academy of Languages  

Dr Walter  
Guard Me  

IRELAND English Language Academy ELA  
MEI Ireland  
Dialogo Language Services  
IH Milan  
Percorsi d'italiano  

Bell International  
EC English Language Centre  

Good Hope Studies  

International House - Sevilla CLIC  
Xul Comunicación Social  
Malaca Instituto - Club Hispanico SL  

EF International Language Centers  
Eurocentres International  

Malta Tourism Authority  
Office de Tourisme Montpellier  

Brown University  
California State University San Marcos  
ELS Language Centers  
FLS International  
Global Language Institute  
New York Language Center  
Open Hearts International College  
Saint John's University  
Sara's New York Homestay LLC  
UC Berkeley Extension  
University of Arizona  
University of California San Diego  
Zoni Language Centers  

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