Single-sex schools cut gender stereotyping and push girls to explore “typically male subjects”, according to the Ofsted chief.
Amanda Spielman said the best institutions also encourage pupils to socialise with the opposite sex through neighbouring schools, often in formal extra-curricular programmes such as music and drama, to make sure they felt comfortable in one another’s company.
She made her strong defence of such schools after Ofsted won a lengthy court battle over gender segregation in a mixed school, Al-Hijrah in Birmingham. The appeal court ruled that the school broke equalities law with its rigid segregation of boys and girls from the age of five. Girls and boys are taught in separate lessons, use different corridors and are not allowed to mix at break or lunchtime.