Why I benefitted from going to an All Girls School


all girls school

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Throughout my junior and high school years, I attended an All Girls' School in South Africa. Same-sex schools are far more common over there than in the UK and I personally feel I really benefitted from it for a variety of reasons. While it may not be for everyone and times and teaching styles have changed since I was at school, I personally had a positive experience for the most part (I mean it is school after all) and I thought I share from a first-hand perspective what it was like.

1. We were taught self-respect & self love

Respect for ourselves, our friends and our teachers was key at my school and in all the years I attended there were never any real issues with things like bullying but that may have been down to my school approach and openness to be able to talk to our teachers if anything was worrying us and this would be followed through. In high school, my class as a whole, which wasn't very big, would attend supportive weekly group counselling sessions where we would talk about any worries we had, female health, peer pressure concerns etc and these were extremely helpful but I don't think it would have worked if we were in a mixed-sex setting.  

2. You are encouraged to achieve your potential 

My school really pushed us to achieve, it never discriminated against or made allowances for being a woman, they expected us to excel academically (within our ability), musically, in sports etc and many of my friends went into Stem, accounting, architecture, law etc after school. My teachers never made me feel like I couldn't achieve something and that positive environment often naturally encouraged us to want to learn. I remember when I was in the chess team and we often played against other schools, usually twice a month and on many occasions we would play all-boy schools and often won and why wouldn't we? 

3. More focus & less distraction

While of course we goofed around, had fun, made jokes, gossiped etc there was certainly less distraction at school for many of the girls had they been at a mixed-sex school. There was less worry about what people looked like and overall it was a fairly calm and quiet environment. I know that I cannot say what it would be like if boys had attended my school as my experience is only that of being at an all-girls school but I do know socialising on weekends etc with all genders was louder and more intense, while school provided a relaxed but focused space away from that. 

As someone who grew up quite self-conscious, mainly due to my short stature (I am only 4ft 11) and as someone who generally feels more comfortable in the company of women, an all-girls school was a real benefit for me especially as I got older and as a teenager, we naturally worry about our skin and appearance more but I never felt judged around my school peers however I know I would have struggled in a mixed environment. saying that I don't feel that attending and all-girls school affected my ability to socialise with everyone, especially as I took part in external sports groups 4 days a week, many of which I was the only girl in the group. 

If you are looking into high school options for your child then perhaps consider a same-sex school as it could be a real benefit to your child. There are of course both state and private school in Leicester and across the UK. 

In one way I felt fairly sheltered from the world in terms of things like sexism when it came to employment, relationships etc as we had been encouraged and supported so much, I thought the rest of the world was like that, of course, it's not, but my schooling had been instilled a level resilience and independence that has allowed me to navigate the world and know my worth and it's something I have always been grateful for. 

high school

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