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Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Eleven Plus and Co-Education

Parents of our present Eleven Plus children will have started thinking about the relative merits of co-educational and single sex grammar schools.

The word co-educational was used around 1927 to describe a school where boys and girls were admitted on equal terms – usually in the same classes and studying the same work. The co-educational school was different from the dual school where boys and girls shared the same building but were taught separately.

The Education Act of 1876 made the attendance of girls at school compulsorily. In village school girls usually attended the same school as their brothers – but in urban communities boys and girls were often taught in separate schools.

It did not take long for the girls to prove that they could learn as quickly as the boys. Many girls proved that they were able to learn even quicker than the boys. (Not much change here!)

The early arguments about co-education were focused around a fear that to educate boys and girls together would cause some form of emotional disturbance – and work would suffer. Those for co-education felt that it was essential that boys and girls worked together so that both sexes could grow and develop together.

Some single sex grammar schools use the same Eleven Plus examination for boys and girls. Other single sex grammar schools rely on setting their own entrance tests.

Parents will want to discuss the relative merits of both systems with their child – if there is a choice in their area between a co-educational and single sex school.

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