NAPLAN data shows that same-sex schools have an academic advantage

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About 284,000 students are enrolled in same-sex schools across the country. Although they may perform better academically, the proportion of all students in these schools across the country has declined slightly from 7.2 percent in 2018 to 7 percent in 2022.

The declining proportion of students in same-sex schools is likely due to many boys’ schools deciding to open their doors to girls, the report said.

In Sydney, this includes the Marist school Corpus Christi College, which opened its doors to girls this year in its seventh year. It followed Marist Catholic College North Shore in North Sydney, which became coeducational in 2021.

The $41,000-a-year Cranbrook at Bellevue Hill will open its doors to girls in 2026, and Newington College at Stanmore is also considering a possible transition to co-ed education.

Flinders University researcher Dr. Katherine Dix, analyzed NAPLAN data from 2010 to 2012. She found in mathematics that students in boys’ schools were one school year ahead of students in girls’ schools. However, their research found that single-sex schools did not add value to academic outcomes over time compared to co-ed schools.

She now believes that girls’ schools remained popular because the values ​​they promoted were attractive to parents, while boys’ schools were less so.

Dallas McInerney, Head of Catholic Schools NSW.

Dallas McInerney, Head of Catholic Schools NSW.

“The desire to raise strong, independent young women is a stronger driver in a traditionally male-dominated world. There is no such thing as the same driver for same-sex male schools,” she said.

Dallas McInerney, executive director of Catholic Schools NSW, wants single-sex schools to remain an option for parents. He warned that admitting girls to the co-ed school should not be seen as a quick fix to help a struggling school.

“As we believe in parental choice between fields, it extends to the type of school, be it co-ed school or single-sex school, as different children are better suited to different environments,” he said.

“There are various reasons why we would like to merge two single-sex schools into a single location. But as a general principle, no single department should be called upon to rescue a failing school of the opposite sex. Don’t catch up with girls to save troubled boys’ schools.”

At St. Patrick’s in Campbelltown, 15-year-old Rebecca, comparing the school to her co-ed elementary school, said she preferred having only girls in the classroom.

“It’s a lot calmer and more focused,” she said.

Abigail, 15, said she liked the close friendships she made at school, while her classmate Diadem, also 15, said she liked the supportive environment of an all-girls school.

“It’s a sisterhood, I’m really encouraged to do my best,” she said.

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Justin Scaccy

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