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Gender and school choice: factors influencing parents when choosing single-sex or co-educational independent schools for their children

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2005
JournalCambridge Journal of Education
Journal number2
Volume35
Number of pages17
Pages195-211
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper explores factors influencing parents' choices of single-sex or co-educational schools in the independent sector. In doing so, it explores two relatively under-researched aspects of school choice by focusing upon gender and upon the middle classes. The paper draws upon research conducted in three independent schools—a boys' school, a girls' school and a co-educational school. Data were generated via questionnaires (225 responses) and semi-structured interviews (15 sets of parents). The findings suggest that the reputation and exam results of schools are key features guiding parents' school choices. However, whether a school is single-sex or co-educational is an important factor for many parents. Furthermore, the long-held view that single-sex education has advantages (especially academic) for girls, whilst co-education has advantages (especially social) for boys, still prevails.