All-boys schools: coed versus single-sex

Comparing boys' schools to coed schools

According to the experts, up to 80% of boys and girls have brains similar enough that they will respond to the same learning style. But what about the 20% that differs? As a parent, you probably have a gut feeling that your little girl or boy doesn’t quite fit the mould. Test those instincts against the following questions, informed by the observations of teacher Tom Stevens (who has taught both sexes): Read more


List of all-boys schools

 
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Royal St. George's College


Toronto, Ontario
Bathurst St/Dupont St
 
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"Our vision: Encourage life-long Georgians ready to use their scholarship, compassion, conscience and courage to make a difference. Our mission: To challenge and inspire each boy to become the best version of himself.

  1. 100% university placement
  2. Boy-centric education
  3. Computer Engineering & Entrepreneurship programs
  4. AP Capstone school

—From the school

  • Gr. 3 to 12 (Boys)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $37,675
 
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Royal St. George's College 37675 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys

Upper Canada College


Toronto, Ontario
St Clair Ave W/Avenue Rd
 
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"Located in the heart of Toronto, UCC provides transformational learning experiences in a supportive, caring environment. Our highly sought-after graduates are awarded International Baccalaureate and OSSD diplomas.

  1. High-achieving, all-round students
  2. Challenging but rewarding IB program
  3. First rate academics, athletics and arts
  4. 19 different sports and 80+ clubs

—From the school

  • Gr. SK to 12 (Boys)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $38,600 to $75,200
 
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Upper Canada College 38600 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Boys

Crescent School


Toronto, Ontario
Bayview Avenue/Lawrence Avenue East
 
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"Crescent School is a Toronto independent day school for boys in Grades 3 to 12. Our relational learning environment develops students' characters through academics, arts, athletics, business, outreach and robotics.

  1. Emphasis on leadership and character education
  2. Strong alumni community
  3. Generous financial aid
  4. Enhanced service & mentoring opportunities

—From the school

  • Gr. 3 to 12 (Boys)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $41,965
 
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Crescent School 41965 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
Toronto, Ontario
York Mills Road/Don Mills Road
 
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"We value partnership with parents, creating a genuinely warm and friendly community. We raise the academic bar on academic excellence, and expectations of character, helping the boys become the best that they can be." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Boys)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum
  • $20,200 to $24,600
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Northmount School 20200 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Boys
Toronto, Ontario
Dufferin Avenue/401 Highway
 
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"The Sterling Hall School understands how boys learn best. Teacher relationships and extensive co-curriculars empower and inspire each boy. Our focus on learning, character and community ensure all boys belong." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Boys)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $37,000
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The Sterling Hall School 37000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Boys
Wellandport, Ontario
 
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"Robert Land Academy, established in 1978, is a private military-inspired boarding school (Grades 5-12) that helps boys build self-confidence, achieve academic success, develop values, and realize their potential." —From the school

  • Gr. 5 to 12 (Boys)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $64,000 to $75,000
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Robert Land Academy 64000 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Boys
Halifax, Nova Scotia
 
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"With a global network of schools around the world, a rich and proud history, and a strong and unique set of core values, Sacred Heart offers not just an education but an experience that is unparalleled in Nova Scotia." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Boys/Girls/Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $14,370 to $20,130
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Sacred Heart School of Halifax 14370 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Day Boys Girls Coed
Aurora, Ontario
St. John's Sideroad/Yonge Street
 
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"With a tradition dating back to 1899, St. Andrew's remains the single largest all-boys boarding school in Canada. Our 126-acre campus provides our students with an ideal setting for learning and growth." —From the school

  • Gr. 5 to 12 (Boys/Girls)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $4,100 to $80,800
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St. Andrew's College 4100 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Day Boys Girls
Toronto, Ontario
Duplex Ave/St Clements Ave
 
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"At SCELS we believe giving children an early education will build a solid foundation to prepare them for their next school setting." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 2 (Boys/Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $12,000 to $23,000
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St. Clement's Early Learning School 12000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Day Boys Coed
Toronto, Ontario
Bathurst St./St. Clair West
 
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"Canada’s only independent, Catholic school for boys in Grades 7-12, taught in the Basilian tradition of forming the mind, body, and soul. Since 1852, we have educated students in goodness, discipline, and knowledge." —From the school

  • Gr. 7 to 12 (Boys)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum
  • $23,250
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St. Michael's College School 23250 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
Calgary, Alberta
17th Ave SW/Richmond Road SW
 
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"In addition to academics, our focus on mentorship, hands-on learning in and outside the classroom, and character development, will allow our students to thrive academically and personally as they discover who they are." —From the school

  • Gr. K to 12 (Coed/Girls/Boys)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $14,000 to $16,000
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North Point School 14000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Day Coed Girls Boys
Calgary, Alberta
Crowchild Trail/Flanders Ave. SW
 
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"Clear Water Academy is the only private Catholic school in Alberta. We offer a rigorous academic program from Jr. Kindergarten to Grade 12 for students of all faiths. 100% of our students pursue post-secondary education." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Coed/Boys/Girls)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum
  • $15,700 to $17,400
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Clear Water Academy 15700 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Day Day Coed Boys Girls
Oakville, Ontario
 
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"We know boys have different learning styles. Research shows that boys learn differently and socialize in their own distinct ways. We also know through research that boys thrive in an all-boys’ learning environment." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Boys)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $25,935 to $30,660
  • Day school
  • 180 students
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Linbrook School 25935 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Boys

DOES YOUR CHILD WORK BEST COLLABORATIVELY, OR DOES HE LIKE TO COMPETE? Girls tend to learn best when there is co-operation; boys like to be pitted against each other.

IS YOUR CHILD A BORN READER OR DOES SHE GRAVITATE MORE TO PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES? Generally, boys need encouragement to sit quietly with a book.

DOES YOUR CHILD LEARN BEST BY HEARING OR SEEING OR BY DOING? While girls tend to learn from a spoken lesson, boys seem to be more experiential.

DOES YOUR CHILD SHOW AFFECTION BY CUDDLING OR BY PLAY-FIGHTING? Teachers like Stevens observe that while most girls hug and kiss, boys prefer roughhousing.

CAN YOUR CHILD FOLLOW COMPLEX INSTRUCTIONS OR DO YOU NEED TO SPELL THEM OUT ONE AT A TIME? Most girls are better at multi-tasking.

IS YOUR CHILD AN ENGAGED LISTENER OR DO YOU HAVE TO REPEAT YOURSELF? Boys tend to have shorter attention spans.

For some common arguments on both sides, see the table below.

Benefits of single-sex vs. coed schools

 

Common arguments for single sex

Common arguments for coed

Pedagogical arguments

  • School can better tailor lessons and curriculum to students.
  • It’s hard to be all things to all people. Boys and girls learn differently and single-sex schools are able to accommodate these differences without compromise. Many of the supposed differences in ability between boys and girls result from subjects not being taught to their respective learning style. 
  • In the areas boys and girls often do well in—whether it's in an intellectual, physical, or behavioural domain—they aren’t held back by the other gender. In areas they might struggle in, they aren’t overshadowed by the other gender or boxed into narrow gender stereotypes. 
  • The differences between boys’ and girls’ learning styles are overstated.
  • Research shows that for up to 80% of students—both boys and girls—their brains are similar enough that they respond to the same teaching style. 
  • Academics are enriched when boys and girls are exposed to each other’s thinking and experiences in the classroom. 
  • Having boys and girls in the classroom creates balance, which benefits both. Where boys excel, they raise the standard for girls, and vice versa. Diversity allows students to stretch and challenge each other. 

Developmental arguments

  • Students are less fettered in developing their unique selves.
  • In adolescence, kids can be more themselves without sexual competition. 
  • Kids can try different things
    and explore unique interests and skills without the influence of social expectations stemming from gender roles. 
  • Without the distraction of mating rituals, students tend to be more focused on academics and extracurriculars—areas that pay higher dividends later in life. Kids don’t have to put being cool before learning. 
  • Cohorts tend to form more naturally without adolescent concerns about cliques and social status. The camaraderie that develops can be special. 
  • Going to a single-sex school doesn’t preclude students from interacting with the opposite sex, whether through extracurriculars or outside of school. By the time kids go out into the world of relationships, they are strong and fully formed individuals. 
  • Students have more opportunity to develop their social selves.
  • As Aristotle said, humans are social animals. Today that means living in a coed world. Single-sex schools artificially shelter kids from this reality. 
  • Students learn to be tolerant of people who are different than them and to treat each other with respect. Students are exposed to both male and female role models. 
  • Especially in the older grades, many students prize their friendships with the other sex. This can take students out of their comfort zones and make them see the world differently. 
  • School and work aside, coed schools offer students more chances to build comfort talking and interacting with the other sex. 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Common arguments for single sex

Common arguments for coed

Pedagogical arguments

  • School can better tailor lessons and curriculum to students.
  • It’s hard to be all things to all people. Boys and girls learn differently and single-sex schools are able to accommodate these differences without compromise. Many of the supposed differences in ability between boys and girls result from subjects not being taught to their respective learning style. 
  • In the areas boys and girls often do well in—whether it's in an intellectual, physical, or behavioural domain—they aren’t held back by the other gender. In areas they might struggle in, they aren’t overshadowed by the other gender or boxed into narrow gender stereotypes. 
  • The differences between boys’ and girls’ learning styles are overstated.
  • Research shows that for up to 80% of students—both boys and girls—their brains are similar enough that they respond to the same teaching style. 
  • Academics are enriched when boys and girls are exposed to each other’s thinking and experiences in the classroom. 
  • Having boys and girls in the classroom creates balance, which benefits both. Where boys excel, they raise the standard for girls, and vice versa. Diversity allows students to stretch and challenge each other. 

Developmental arguments

  • Students are less fettered in developing their unique selves.
  • In adolescence, kids can be more themselves without sexual competition. 
  • Kids can try different things
    and explore unique interests and skills without the influence of social expectations stemming from gender roles. 
  • Without the distraction of mating rituals, students tend to be more focused on academics and extracurriculars—areas that pay higher dividends later in life. Kids don’t have to put being cool before learning. 
  • Cohorts tend to form more naturally without adolescent concerns about cliques and social status. The camaraderie that develops can be special. 
  • Going to a single-sex school doesn’t preclude students from interacting with the opposite sex, whether through extracurriculars or outside of school. By the time kids go out into the world of relationships, they are strong and fully formed individuals. 
  • Students have more opportunity to develop their social selves.
  • As Aristotle said, humans are social animals. Today that means living in a coed world. Single-sex schools artificially shelter kids from this reality. 
  • Students learn to be tolerant of people who are different than them and to treat each other with respect. Students are exposed to both male and female role models. 
  • Especially in the older grades, many students prize their friendships with the other sex. This can take students out of their comfort zones and make them see the world differently. 
  • School and work aside, coed schools offer students more chances to build comfort talking and interacting with the other sex. 


 

 

 

 

Series: Girls Schools

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