The debate on whether single-sex or co-educational schools provide the best learning environment for students continues.
Numerous well-researched, yet contradictory articles are published on single gender or co-educational learning each year. They present teachers, students and parents with the difficult choice of which approach is better.
The Parallel Learning model delivered by Tintern Grammar suggests the best choice may be not to choose at all.
The Tintern Parallel Learning model offers a combination of single-sex, and co-educational years whereby co-educational sessions are offered in the Early Learning Centre, and then with girls and boys separated through Junior and Middle School.
Mixed classes are then re-introduced in Year 10 where students benefit from a greater choice of subjects, and tertiary-style facilities. They are also prepared for the transition to higher education, or to begin their working lives.
The provision of both single-sex, and mixed classes on a co-educational campus- a best of both worlds approach- creates the optimum learning environment for students.
At Tintern Grammar, we support the view that the difference between boys’ and girls’ physical, emotional, and psychological development impacts their learning styles and preferred activities to optimise engagement.
It is critical that this is addressed when significant educational foundations are being laid, and equally, that students are exposed to an environment where they feel both confident and well-supported in their development.
Risk-taking, experimentation, and the development of resilience underpins academic endeavour and growth. These are best nurtured in an environment where students feel safe to take risks, stretch themselves and occasionally fail.
Tintern Grammar’s combination of single-sex, and co-educational classrooms, social spaces, and activities through the school years, provides the best environment for the development of an appetite for challenge, both inside and out of the classroom.
During the final years of secondary school, students must be prepared for life beyond the school gate. In their day-to-day interactions, they must be able to collaborate with and learn from other boys and girls equally.
We see biology as having less impact on academic development than personal learning styles, at this age.
Co-educational classes in Years 10 to 12 promote gender acceptance, understanding, and awareness of different working styles. Practically, this model also allows schools to use resources to offer subject diversity.
Single-sex and mixed classes are both delivered on our co-educational campus. Our unique Parallel model allows for social mixing of students on campus and through co-curricular activities.
At the same time, classes designed to address the differing learning needs, academic orientations, and points of engagement of boys and girls at different stages in their mental and emotional development, give students the opportunity to establish a strong academic foundation, on which they can build in Senior College.
Tintern Grammar’s academic results suggest the model is working for our students. In 2016, one third of our students achieved an ATAR of 90, and above.
These results are very positive; however equally important is the feedback received from students and families.
Every year our Principal invites our Year 12 students to lunch shortly before they commence their end-of-year examinations. Invariably they remark on how positive the learning environment was for them during Middle School and how it fostered their confidence.
Our Year 12 students invariably reflect on the importance of coming together in Year 10, as being the best time (before VCE or IB commences) and that they feel ‘well set up for the real world’ as a result.
Parallel Learning is an effective and exciting education model that enables the vast majority of proven growth factors associated with both a single-sex, and co-educational approach. The confidence and achievements attained by our students as they move into life beyond our gates is proof that our model works.