Anne Everest - Head's Message 21-05
When I talk to prospective students, especially the younger ones, I ask them how they will feel about there being no boys in St George's (apart from some very little boys in the Nursery). The answers I receive range from "cool!" and "awesome!" to a look of bewilderment, which tells me all I need to know: it is not an issue, but rather an aspect of the school that many girls see as advantageous.
I do not need to rehearse the arguments in favour of single sex education here. For many the debate is over and the motion carried: some girls probably do better in a single sex environment; some prefer to work in a coeducational context; some girls will do stunningly well wherever they study. It is a matter of preference and many parents prefer to invest in a single sex education for their daughters.
One thing is sure: we do not have to spend time worrying about getting it right for the boys; we can focus on the girls alone. There are many spin-offs. Participation in sport across all fitness levels is impressively high at girls' schools. Girls are more active in the playgrounds as well since, by definition, girls-only playgrounds cannot be dominated by a group of boys. Rather than stand back in practical lessons, girls have to get involved. They must carry out the experiments in the sciences and design mechanical systems in engineering clubs; they must take the lead in whatever subject they study. If we have a football team, a girl will have to captain it - and the same goes for every leadership role and post of responsibility in the student body: a girl will have to fill it.
When parents visit our school, our students give the guided tours. Primary 5 girls step up to the plate in the Junior School, and the most appropriate age group will be picked to give tours of Lower School; our sixth form girls take it in turns to offer tours in Upper School. Prospective parents remark on the girls' obvious pride in their school; they also note their confidence and politeness.
We are all proud of our school and of our girls: any parent or visitor will get a sense of that pride and the purposeful nature of this girls' school; just don't expect to see many boys here!
Anne C Everest
Head, St George's School for Girls