Britons now prefer all-boys schools

Last Updated: Thu, Sep 30, 2010 05:50 hrs

London, Sep 30 (IANS) All-boys schools are booming in Britain as more and more parents are now shunning the idea of co-ed institutions as those apparently lead boys to act 'tough' or 'play the fool'.

There has been a recent surge in the number of pupils at single-sex schools for boys, such as Cothill House, near Oxford.

Teachers have said parents are becoming increasingly concerned about a 'macho culture' at some co-ed schools where boys consider it 'cool to be a fool', the Daily Mail said in a report.

Parents nowadays are also splitting their families between different schools, rather than opting for the same primary or secondary for all siblings.

Some parents are choosing co-ed schools for their daughters but all-boys schools for their sons, the report said.

This, however, has resulted in parents paying for private education, since there are fewer single-sex primary schools.

Experts also suggest that parents are more likely to invest in private education for boys rather than girls, because they believe daughters are 'more likely to succeed wherever they are educated', whereas boys may need extra support.

The report is based on data issued by the Independent Association of Preparatory Schools (IAPS), representing 600 private schools.

The report showed that nearly a third of all-boys schools - 29 percent - showed strong growth in numbers this year.

David Hanson, chief executive of IAPS, said: '... in an all-boys environment, they could be a fully-rounded little boy, rather than half a boy, in some other environment where you have to pretend to be tough and act cool, and not want to learn, because it's cool to be a fool.'

He said in the past, parents wanted boys to be in co-ed schools 'because it's civilising', and parents want girls to be in single-sex schools because then girls can achieve without boys slowing them down and being disruptive.

'What we see in the data now is the opposite - parents saying actually I think I want my boy to be in a single-sex school because I feel he will do better there, but I would probably like my daughter to be in a co-ed school.'

Hanson said a strong diet of sport was a 'big driver' of demand for all-boys schools.

'We know that sport has a big part to play,' he said.

Andy Falconer, chairman of IAPS and head of St. Olave's Prep School, in York, said some parents found their sons did better apart from girls at primary school because girls mature more quickly.