School opens doors to girl students
GUILDFORD Grammar School, one of WA’s oldest private schools, will become fully coeducational by 2019, welcoming girls as well as boys from kindergarten to Year 12.
Wednesday’s announcement followed a decision by the school council to extend coeducation beyond the Preparatory School, which now has more than 100 girls enrolled from kindergarten to Year 6.
In 2018 the school will welcome girls in years 7, 8 and 11, with co- education in all Senior School years in 2019. Boarding facilities will be open to Senior School girls by 2020.
School council chairman Mitchell Wells said the council had run an exhaustive process for the past 18 months.
The decision resonated with the school’s purpose of “inspiring students to achieve personal excellence and to be outstanding citizens who work to create a just, loving and peaceful society”.
“This is the true fulfilment of our school purpose and the decision by our 12- member council was unanimous,” Mr Wells said.
Headmaster Stephen Webber said co- education would better prepare students for life after school.
“As a fully co- educational school, we will better reflect the modern world in which young women and men collaborate and work together,” he said.
“This is a natural evolution for the school.
“Guildford Grammar already provides an outstanding education to girls in our Preparatory School, and it is time to allow all of our students to complete their schooling with us.
“Our girls identify strongly with our school and are keen to stay.”
Mr Webber said the decision followed strong interest from the parent community and mounting academic research supporting co- educational schooling.
“For many years now our parents have raised the issue of co- education and there has been strong support for us to adopt this model,” Mr Webber said.
“Many parents with sons and daughters are keen to see them continue their education in an environment that values diversity and better prepares students for life after school.”
Mr Webber said the school would work with parents over coming years to ensure the smooth integration of girls in the classroom, on playing fields and in boarding houses.
“We are extremely fortunate that the school has exceptional facilities and an extensive landholding able to accommodate growth,” he said. TELL US WHAT YOU THINK www. facebook. com/ hillsmidland WHATEVER the reasons behind the decision, Guildford Grammar’s move to become a co- educational school is a good one.
While some may question why Guildford Grammar has decided to change after spending the first 100 years of its life as a boys’ school, moving to a model that more closely reflects wider society is to be commended.
Firstly, there is little evidence that single- sex classrooms produce better outcomes for students.
A major meta- analysis of 184 studies involving 1.6 million students published in the Psychological Bulletin in 2014 concluded that there was little evidence that single- sex classrooms offered any educational or social benefits.
There is, however, research showing that segregating classrooms by gender can feed stereotypes. These stereotypes include ideas that girls and boys learn differently. Neuroscience does not support this idea but research indicates that when teachers believe girls and boys learn differently then they treat them differently. These stereotypes can end up limiting students’ learning.
Gender stereotypes can also be reinforced by single- sex schools, with research showing that gender stereotypes are stronger in single- sex schools than co- educational schools.
One major positive of opening up the school to female students will be exposing students to a more diverse range of classmates.
We learn to respect differences best when we are exposed to people who are different from us. Wider society is not segregated by gender and our schools should be no different. Dr Shean is a lecturer in ECU’s School of Education.
Female secondary students will soon be seen on the grounds of Guildford Grammar School.