Confidence Gained From Girls Only

This week, I was interested to read fresh research from the UK concluding that girls who attend single-sex schools are generally more confident and emotionally in control than girls attending state and independent coeducational schools.

AQR International’s ‘Mental Toughness’ Report also indicates the COVID-19 pandemic may have exacerbated gaps and differences that already exist between students – with girls who are mentally tougher having an advantage when dealing with the pandemic – compared with girls who demonstrate less confidence and emotional control.

Chief Executive of AQR International, Mr Doug Strycharczyk, shared this research with school principals in the UK, commenting these findings will have significant implications for much of the UK’s population, during and after the pandemic.

Strycharczyk’s research demonstrated that girls who attend single-sex schools are more effective at dealing with challenge, opportunity, stress and pressure and less likely to be anxious or depressed.

Undoubtedly, developing young people’s mental toughness is an investment made towards creating a more resilient society of the future; one that is capable of managing new challenges with a positive outlook.

The Report adds to a growing body of research which speaks to the resilience of students who attend all-girls schools. Earlier this year, the Mission Australia’s National Youth Survey 2020 found girls at single-sex schools fared better than the national average during the pandemic.

From our perspective at St Catherine’s, this is an extremely positive demonstration of the power of all-girls schools and reveals the impact of single-sex schooling on girls’ confidence and emotional resilience. It serves to reaffirm the decision made by parents and highlights that grit and resilience are characteristics of girls in our school. This also further validates the emphasis we place on a strong wellbeing program highlighting the value of perseverance.

Certainly, providing a learning environment where girls are free from gender-weighted scrutiny and are encouraged to take risks, be competitive, challenge gender stereotypes and associate failure as a part of their learning all contribute to their mental toughness and will benefit them both at school and in life beyond the Heyington Gates.

Mrs Michelle Carroll


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