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Stamford Endowed Schools could scrap single-sex classes and become fully co-educational

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Governors at Stamford Endowed Schools are looking to scrap single-sex education.

Currently pupils are only taught in mixed-sex classes at the junior school and when they reach sixth form.

Between the ages of 11 and 16, pupils are taught in single-sex groups with girls at Stamford High School and boys at Stamford School.

Stamford School
Stamford School

But from September 2023, the whole school could become fully co-educational.

A consultation with staff, pupils and parents has launched and will run until Easter before any final decisions are made.

Chairman of the governors, Nicholas Rudd-Jones, said: “Although the diamond model has served us well, the educational and social landscape has changed significantly in the past two decades and the governors now believe that a fully co-educational environment will give our students the best opportunities and outcomes, both academically and pastorally.

Stamford High School
Stamford High School

“Research into pupil progress and methods of teaching and learning has moved forward dramatically, and we can now tailor methods and support much more closely to individual students rather than relying on generalised techniques based on biological sex.

“Any benefits of single-sex teaching are outweighed by the clear social, pastoral and developmental benefits of a co-educational environment.”

A “scoping exercise” is being carried out by RSAcademics, a specialist consultancy with expertise in independent schools’ strategy.

A randomly-selected sample of staff, parents and pupils will take part in individual and group discussions.

Early indications suggest that pupils in years seven to 11 could be taught at the current Stamford School site, based around St Paul’s Street, while the Stamford High School site in High Street St Martins would be converted to a specialist sixth form facility.

The change would ensure all pupils have equal access to school facilities.

A statement from the school said: “There is the ongoing question of ensuring equality for our male and female students.

“By educating them in different environments, with different teachers and with different facilities, it is an ongoing challenge to ensure that they always have access to the same opportunities and outcomes.

“Ensuring equality for all students is not just a question of morality and fairness; it is, rightly, a legal requirement.

“Sixth form students would benefit from being based on a single site, specifically designed to cater for the needs of young adults, including appropriate pastoral and social spaces.”

The school has confirmed that any changes will be made at the start of an academic year.

Any pupils in Year 11 at that point (mid way through their GCSE studies) would continue to be taught in their existing single-sex classes to minimise disruption.

Mr Rudd-Jones added: “We believe our students can best learn to navigate the world, and to communicate and work well and happily with their future friends, partners and colleagues, if they are learning the social and emotional skills that they will need in a co-educational environment.

“The exercise will help governors and the executive to consider the most appropriate timescales for the change, and to ensure that any specific concerns from parents, students and staff can be identified and addressed.”

What do you think? Send your views to: smeditor@stamfordmercury.co.uk

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