Given gender stereotypes and differences between the sexes, the question has yet to be settled: Do girls and boys learn better together or separately?
A key consideration when choosing a private education for a child is whether to go with a single-sex or coeducational school. The right choice will depend on which school of thought on the subject resonates most with you.
David Robertson, headmaster at Shawnigan Lake School, a coed boarding high school in B.C., says boys and girls ultimately have a more enriching educational experience when they get to learn together. "There's a cross-pollination that goes on in the academic environment," Robertson says. "The diligence and attentiveness of girls positively affects boys, while the liveliness of boys inspires girls. They learn from and are inspired by each other."
Coed schools better prepare girls and boys for post-secondary school and employment by providing ongoing opportunities to work together, he adds. "They learn to work together productively, which is what they will be expected to do throughout their life. So there is good preparation happening for university and beyond."
Since coeducation is the norm in North American public schools, most of the research in the field has focused on the efficacy of single-sex education. Single-Sex Education: What Does Research Tell Us?, a 2010 review of several studies on single-sex education in English-speaking countries, found little consensus on whether the option is actually advantageous to girls' and boys' academic achievement.
However, single-sex education proponents argue boys and girls learn differently, and single-sex schools consider these differences to create customized programs that optimize success.
"In coed schools, boys tend to populate the lower end of the academic spectrum," says Brad Adams, executive director of the International Boys' Schools Coalition. "Boys' schools specialize in designing curriculum that hooks boys into learning."
At boys' schools, boys are more engaged in learning without being in a gender pressure cooker, Adams adds.
"They have a longer time to be boys and to explore various interests, for example, in the arts, without getting straitjacketed into some stereotypical gender role, such as the jock," he explains.
The main strength of all-boys and all-girls schools is reflected in the 2008 study Single-Sex Schooling and Academic Attainment at School and Through the Lifecourse. The study found that the option helps students succeed in gender-atypical subjects; for example, girls will perform better in math and science, and boys will do better in English and modern languages.
For girls, much of the benefit lies in developing their personhood in an environment free of persistent traditional gender stereotypes that can hold women back.
"In many ways, gender dynamics have not changed, and in most of the world, public life is still the domain of men, and domestic life that of women," says Burch Ford, president of the U.S.-based National Coalition of Girls' Schools (NCGS). "Girls' schools provide not only a physical but a psychological space where that part of our culture is left at the door, and girls have the freedom to explore who they are and who they want to become."
Girls who attend single-sex schools outscore their coed counterparts on the SAT by an average of 28 to 43 points, and nearly 100 per cent of girls' school graduates go on to college, according to the NCGS.
"In girls' schools, there is no social consequence for speaking out, challenging ideas and being yourself, which allows girls to develop the kind of critical- and creative-thinking skills that are essential in the 21st-century workforce," Ford says.
If you want to compare specific schools one-to-one, visit our compare hub.
Upper Canada College (est. 1829)
Located in the heart of Toronto, Upper Canada College is the oldest independent boys' school in Ontario. Our graduates are highly regarded by top universities and post-secondary institutions worldwide. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$30,860 to $61,560||Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boys Boarding Day||30860|
Robert Land Academy (est. 1978)
Robert Land Academy is a private military-themed boarding school (Gr 5-12) helping boys to achieve their potential and gain admission to post-secondary programs. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$52,000 to $55,000||MiddleSchools HighSchools Boys Boarding||52000|
Crescent School (est. 1913)
Crescent School is a Toronto independent school for boys only, Grades 3 to 12. Tuition starts at $32,350. Crescent offers a variety of extra-curricular activities including sports, arts, outreach and robotics. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$32,350||MiddleSchools HighSchools Boys Day||32350|
The Sterling Hall School (est. 1987)
The Sterling Hall School is a leading independent school for boys, JK to Grade 8. We understand how boys learn best and we support each boy in his learning journey. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$28,800||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Boys Day||28800|
Northmount School (est. 1990)
Northmount School offers an enriched curriculum in Catholic education from junior kindergarten to grade eight in Toronto. Its average class size is eight to 15 students. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$15,000 to $23,500||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Boys Day||15000|
St. Andrew's College (est. 1899)
St. Andrew's College offers programs from grades 5 to 12 in Aurora. Its average class size is 17 students. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$30,120 to $63,500||MiddleSchools HighSchools Boys Boarding Day||30120|
North Point School For Boys (est. 2014)
North Point provides a program for boys that is a fundamental re-thinking of how a classroom operates. We design environments and experiences that are specifically geared to challenge and engage boys. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$7,000 to $12,000||Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boys Day||7000|
St. Stanislaus College Prep (est. 1854)
St. Stanislaus College Prep is a faith-based school that offers programs from grades 7 to 12 in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$25,510 to $33,950 USD||MiddleSchools HighSchools Boys Boarding Day||25510|
Linbrook School (est. 2014)
Linbrook School is Oakville's only all-boys school. This independent, not-for-profit day school fosters and supports each individual students special skills as an athlete, musician, performer, artist, writer or humanitarian. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$20,100 to $23,700||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Boys Day||9999999999|
Royal St. George's College (est. 1964)
RSGC is an urban day school that combines academic excellence with a stimulating and supportive environment. Our mission is to challenge and inspire each boy to become the best version of himself. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$30,540||MiddleSchools HighSchools Boys Day||30540|
Hampshire Country School (est. 1948)
A friendly, active boarding school for bright boys who have good intentions but who may be too impulsive, intense, or bothersome for other schools and whose intellectual interests may separate them from their peers. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$58,500 USD||MiddleSchools HighSchools Boys Boarding||58500|
Venture Academy is a therapeutic treatment and education program for students who may be struggling with ADHD, learning challenges, underachieving, behavioural issues, and a variety of clinical diagnoses. [View profile]
|Student-paced||not provided||MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boys Homestay||9999999999|
Heritage (est. 1984)
Heritage offers expert care for at-risk adolescents including those diagnosed with Mood Disorder, depression, anxiety, defiance towards authority figures and those on the Autism Spectrum. Learn more on our website. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$138,000 USD||MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boys Boarding||138000|
St. Michael's College School (est. 1852)
St. Michael's College School offers students in Grades 7-12 an enriched, Catholic, liberal arts education complemented by a diverse co-curricular programme. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$18,700||MiddleSchools HighSchools Boys Day||9999999999|
St. Clement's Early Learning School (est. 1955)
St. Clement's Early Learning School 70 St. Clements Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M4R 1H2 St. Clement’s Early Learning School provides a child with an opportunity for growth in all areas of his or her development. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$8,500 to $20,500||Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Boys Coed Day||8500|
St. Peter's ACHS College School (est. 1990)
St. Peter's ACHS College School in Amherstburg, Ont. is a day/residency school for boys grades 1-8 who love Sports and the Outdoors. Tuition starts at $8,900. and is a member of OFIS. We put "FUN" back into learning. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$8,900 to $27,400||Elementary MiddleSchools Boys Boarding Day||8900|
Selwyn House School (est. 1901)
Selwyn House School provides a well-rounded education of exceptional depth and scope for boys from Kindergarten to Grade 11. It is located in Westmount, Quebec. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$17,500 to $22,500||Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boys Day||17500|
Villa Maria (est. 1854)
Villa Maria offers programs from grades seven to 12 in Montreal. Its average class size is 28 to 32 students. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$4,175||MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boys Day||4175|
Venture Academy is a therapeutic private school providing educational and clinical support services, individualized instruction and engaging interaction to get students back on track and restore confidence. [View profile]
|Student-paced||not provided||MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boys Homestay||9999999999|
Fork Union Military Academy (est. 1898)
This military academy in Fork Union, Virginia is the premier college preparatory boarding military schools for boys in grades 7-12. Renowned for its emphasis on Christian values, academics and athletics. [View profile]
|$32,000 to $37,450 USD||MiddleSchools HighSchools Boys Boarding Day||32000|