‘Single-sex schools give girls courage and opportunity to develop’

"The reality is still that men outnumber women in professions such as engineering and technology, in the financial sector and in the boardroom."
"The reality is still that men outnumber women in professions such as engineering and technology, in the financial sector and in the boardroom."
Promoted by St Margaret's School for Girls

Aberdeen head teacher believes single-sex schools allow girls to escape gender stereotypes.

The head teacher of Aberdeen’s only all-girls school has spoken about how single-sex schooling can help tackle the gender pay gap.

At St Margarets, more than 60 per cent of 2017 leavers went on to study STEM subjects at university.

At St Margarets, more than 60 per cent of 2017 leavers went on to study STEM subjects at university.

Anna Tomlinson, head of St Margaret’s School for Girls, believes single-sex education allows pupils to escape ‘gender-weighted expectation’.

“We may now have our second female prime minister and a female first minister, but the reality is still that men outnumber women in professions such as engineering and technology, in the financial sector and in the boardroom,” she said.

“Furthermore, they still get paid more for the same work.

“Over my career, I have been struck by the capacity of single-sex schools to give girls the courage and opportunity to develop a strong sense of self in an environment free from stereotype.”

Miss Tomlinson believes an environment without ‘girl’s subjects’ and ‘boy’s subjects’ allows girls to follow their own aptitudes and teachers to spark interest in subjects which not have emerged in a mixed classroom.

At St Margaret’s, more than 60 per cent of 2017 leavers went on to study STEM subjects at university.

The Independent Schools Council found girls in Girls’ School Association schools were 75 per cent more likely to maths A-level, 70 per cent more likely to take chemistry, two-and-a-half times as likely to take physics and more than twice as likely to take most languages.

“For the best part of 20 years, I have taught in Scottish girls’ schools, learning environments quite different to my own co-educational schooling in Lancashire,” said Miss Tomlinson.

“Now as a head teacher, I am frequently asked about the benefits of a single-sex school for girls.

“Put simply, in an all-girls’ school we have the advantage of being able to design every aspect of our academic, pastoral and extra-curricular provision to meet the needs of girls at their different developmental stages.

“Few would dispute boys and girls develop physically and emotionally at different rates and there are physiological differences between the male and female brains, although current exciting debate raises the possibility that these differences are influenced by the environment in which children are raised.”

She said, while there were always exceptions, boys and girls learn in different ways and excel at different things and it was the teacher’s job to understand the needs of his or her particular class.

“In an all-girls’ school we can put all our energy into getting it right for the girls.”

The only girls’ school in Aberdeen, St Margaret’s caters for pupils aged three to 18. To find out more about how it could help your daughter fulfil her potential, visit www.st-margaret.aberdeen.sch.uk or call 01224 584466.