AS A child, I experienced single-sex and mixed schools. As a teacher, I taught in single-sex and mixed schools and my unwavering verdict is that co-education is by far and away the better of the two.
We are happy for our primary schools to be mixed, and we are increasingly happy enough for our sixth forms to be mixed - virtually every school in Liverpool has an "open access" sixth form policy. So what is it about the ages of 11-16 which focuses so much of our attention and energy in this debate? Is it standards and the fact that so many single sex girls' schools do so well in the Government's league tables? Well, as the most tested and examined country in the world, perhaps we need to consider the emotional and social experience of our children, as well as the academic experience.
I firmly believe separating the sexes is an artificial exercise and it is important we recognise the social and emotional dimensions of learning. After all, learning is a form of social participation and it is important young people can do that in a mixed environment, not in the closeted atmosphere of a single sex school. The huge benefit is that each group can provide a role model for the other. For example, a school in the south west of England has used the much superior girls' literary skills to stimulate the boys into reading more and to promote far better behaviour. …