The Perils Of A Co-ed State School

By perils of course I mean delights. I don’t think I would’ve survived my school life without the boy girl gossip. I mean come on we thrive on that stuff. You’re lying if you say you didn’t and if you say you still don’t.

A post-night out debrief without boy girl drama doesn’t exist. That’s a fact.

Where would I be without that ingrained memory of a boy in a mankini on the last day of year 11? Not my last day of year 11. Disgust, horror, fear, bewilderment, comedic value, stupidity AND it still brings the biggest grin on my face to date.

I wouldn’t be the person I am today without hearing stories of blowies in the school toilets or the latest park fumble. The boys’ boxing on the school fields, the girls’ catfights with stiletto heels, boys being sellotaped to school benches.

Socially, I probably would have been underdeveloped.

I never feared putting my hand up in class because I was being taught with boys. It probably had something to do with the ogre teacher I had or the fact I didn’t know the answer.

Or people just being shy. Especially kids. I mean it’s so overlooked that people can just be shy. Parents take their children to doctors or counsellors just because their beloved Archibald is shy. They pay for sessions of this bollocks, herbal remedies, special play time. All to be told yep he’s still shy.

Shyness should be embraced and nurtured not shunned as if it’s some kind of disability. So what, you’re shy. That’s who you are and nobody should change that. You wouldn’t be worried about someone if they were a gobby shit or horrendously precocious.

At school age, you never really think about the difference between gender anyway. It’s only when you get older and sex is a thing. If there was ever an issue in education with putting your hand up and saying the wrong answer, then the system is wrong not boys and girls. If somebody laughed at you for a wrong answer in lessons, chances are you’ll have the last laugh now.

The first male president of the Girls’ School Association (GSA), Alun Jones, called for boys to be “protected” from high achieving girls by being educated in boys-only schools, especially aged 11-16.

Boys do not need to be “protected”. Children do not need to be protected from other children that’s for sure. A co-ed school will not mentally damage anybody. Aren’t we supposed to be supporting all children in our education system?

Teaching kids to be strong, focused, determined. We can’t bubble wrap generations anymore. To an extent, children need to have freedom to be themselves to see what the world is really like. Competition was taken away in education, you can’t take away basic social interaction too. I still hugely regret Gove’s decision about literature removal.

The thing that children need less of is protecting, they need nurturing, they need to realise their own potential, they need to work hard. They need to go out climb trees, breathe in the fresh air and play with their friends not stay in playing video games with their mate Steve. Who, for the record, is probably a 40-year-old virgin with a greasy comb over who hasn’t had a friend since 1980. Probably about the same time since he had a bath too. And that is what they need protecting from, not a brainy Belle bringing poor Freddie down a peg or two.

The truth is I feel 1000,000,000,0000,00000,0000 times more confident talking to, hanging out with and being friends with men than women. Being taught at a single-sex school, I probably wouldn’t have any friends now. So maybe not only boys need “protecting” from girls but maybe girls do too.

I don’t ever think I should’ve had a more sheltered education. You cannot blame other children, unless they’re being bullied, for your child’s education.

Intelligence should never ever be a symbol for intimidation. Genders should develop a mutual respect for each other’s intelligence. It should never fuel sexism or generalisations. A boy could be just as stupid as a girl and vice versa. This is all part of the learning experience a school should deliver and the education system should ensure that.



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