Dr Alice Sullivan speaks to BBC about single-sex schools

6 February 2012

Parents' individual choices to send children to single-sex or co-ed schools may lead to undesirable social outcomes, Dr Alice Sullivan has told the BBC.

Previous research by the Good Schools Guide found that girls in single-sex schools make more progress between the ages of 11 and 16 than their peers in co-educational schools – particularly for those at the bottom of the ability range. But for boys, the benefits of single-sex schooling are less marked.

“Parents will choose girls’ schools for their daughters but they’ll want to choose co-educational schools for their sons – and you just can’t square that circle,” Dr Sullivan, director of the 1970 British Cohort Study, told BBC’s Daily Politics show today. She also noted that if parents want more single-sex schools, it will mean a return to a system where the local education authority has more discretion over school place allocation.

Listen to the full clip “Single-sex or co-educational schools for girls and boys” on the BBC website.