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Why a boys-only education benefits young men

“Do not train boys to learning by force and harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds.” – Plato

While advocates of single-sex schooling continue to fly the flag for an all-girls’ education, the value of the all-male classroom has been consistently overlooked.

Research from the University of Cambridge has shown that the benefits of a single-sex learning environment are not strictly reserved for girls. In a study examining the effects of single-sex classrooms in rural, suburban and inner-city schools, researchers found that “using single-sex groups was a significant factor in establishing a school culture that would raise educational achievement”.

Subsequent studies at schools based in the West Midlands (U.K.) have determined that even the creation of temporary, single-sex classrooms “has given increased confidence to both boys and girls”, considerably bolstering their average grade scores and rates of attendance, regardless of the students’ gender.

From comprehensive research such as this, scientists are able to conclude that single-sex male education is incredibly successful when provided by teaching staff who are both highly qualified and entirely committed.

To further emphasise this, Graham Able, a respected educationalist, conducted an experiment to analyse the performance of girls and boys in 30 single-sex and co-educational institutions. Much to the surprise of the global academic community, Able discovered that the single-sex advantage was far greater for boys than for girls.

“The unsubstantiated mythology of the educational establishment has been that girls do better in single-sex schools, but that boys are ‘brought on’ by the more studious girls in a co-educational environment,” Able notes. “This mythology has never been supported by any objective evidence, and any policy derived from it must presumably sacrifice the advantages to one sex in order to promote the cause of the other…

“[Our] results suggest that single-sex schools give an even greater academic advantage to boys than for girls. This directly contradicts the popular educational myth that boys do better in the classroom if girls are present to set them a good example.”

While this report received hefty publicity from the British media, the National Association for Single Sex Public Education points out that it failed to achieve a single mention in the mainstream U.S. press.

So while education professionals around the world continue to promote the benefits of all-female education, international providers of all-male academics refuse to bow down to bias on the global education stage.

Auckland Grammar School represents one of New Zealand’s leading secondary schools, providing a world-class education for young men in Form 3 right through to Form 7. As an institution that’s internationally recognised for the quality of its academic provisions, Auckland Grammar is one such school pushing an all-male cohort to thrive in a single-sex learning environment.

With a diverse population of boys from a variety of cultures and backgrounds, including Maori, European, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Sri Lankan, Japanese, Taiwanese and more, Auckland Grammar instils in its students an invaluable global perspective. This, paired with the school’s reputed academics and overall prestige, means Auckland Grammar is an institution well-known for producing the innovative leaders of tomorrow.

The school’s curriculum focuses on the development of character, allowing students to pursue interests without adhering to the burden of conventional gender stereotypes. Extensive provisions within the fields of Arts and Culture, for example, allows boys to develop talents in an environment that remains free from judgement, and instead bring the best out of students with constant encouragement from both teachers and peers.

The school provides a unique set of opportunities specifically catered to young men, which not only allow Auckland boys to flourish as ambassadors of the school, but also lets them develop their own potential and strive for future success. As a testament to the school’s reputation for being a sterling provider of all-male education, Auckland Grammar offers unparalleled pathways to world-leading universities in New Zealand, Australia, and the wider world, urging each student to unleash his full academic capabilities.

If this is not enough to support Auckland Grammar’s status as an elite provider of all-male education, the June 2016 ERO report stated that Auckland boys identify with the school’s culture of high expectations, where success is ultimately underpinned by ‘The Grammar Way’, which emphasises the pursuit of excellence as a fundamental value.

“Auckland Grammar School continues to achieve high-quality educational outcomes for boys,” the report concludes. “High expectations for academic achievement are promoted throughout the school. School leaders are committed to the school’s legacy, traditions and heritage and also reference national and international trends in boys’ education that lead to increased opportunity and pathways for success.”

As a school that allows young men to thrive in a single-sex classroom setting, Auckland Grammar has certainly raised the bar in terms of all-male education, and with plans in place to further boost its reputation as an esteemed institution, Auckland is well-on the way to proving the global value of the all-male learning environment.

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This article is sponsored by Auckland Grammar School, one of New Zealand’s leading secondary schools, with a reputation for all-round excellence in academic, sporting and cultural pursuits and a strong sense of tradition, pride and confidence. While providing young men with a rigorous academic education, each young man in turn is expected to pursue excellence in acquiring knowledge and skills while embracing the School’s values of integrity, excellence, respect, courage, pride, commitment and humility.

Image courtesy of Auckland Grammar School

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