School opens doors to girl stu­dents

Avon Valley Gazette - - NEWS - Mandie Shean

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.