Have you considered a boys-only school?

Why boys' schools still have an appeal today

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Many people might think that boys’ school is an outdated concept from a previous ‘patriarchal’ era. But at a recent conference in Toronto, representatives from schools all over the world listened to speeches and discussed the theme that we are living in a “New World for Boys.” Speakers ranged from Stephen Lewis, head of the Stephen Lewis Foundation and one of the most respected commentators on international and social affairs to Bill Lishman, the inspiration for the movie Fly Away Home.


David Booth hosted a pre-conference workshop on boys and literacy. Booth is the author of numerous books including Even Hockey Players Read: Boys, Literacy and Learning. The workshop presented various strategies to help create a culture of literacy for boys and to motivate boys to read.

In “Decoding Male Communication,” Manfred von Vulte uses a humorous tone while making the important point that there are specific codes of communication you will only ever hear coming from boys. Because the education system tends to praise “girlish behaviour” much more than “boyish,” boys’ communication is often systemically misinterpreted as malicious, foolish or indifferent. Read "Decoding Male Communication"

Still, is it a good idea to send boys to a boys’ school? Do we really need to segregate the sexes in this day and age? Or is it a better idea now more than ever? The International Boys’ School Coalition states, "Boys' schools are able to develop their resources, choose their teachers and design their programs with only one goal in mind—to meet the educational and developmental needs of young men." The organization cites recent research that demonstrates that boys and girls have fundamentally different learning behaviours.

In an article in the Globe last year, Tim Drager, a student at St. Andrews Private School (an all-boys school in Aurora, Ontario), reported on his experiences. Among other comments, Drager says, "At first, I have to admit, I was skeptical about the fact there was no [classroom] interaction with girls, but I have found it easier to concentrate in class and express my ideas. And the competitive atmosphere of having all guys you play on the field with, and are in the classroom with—it's motivating to be around."

Upper Canada College recently undertook a study as to whether or not to maintain its boarding program. Response to the study was a very strong affirmation of the boarding programlet alone the schools’ boysonly policy.

Evidence to the contrary?

Contradictory evidence was brought forth in a 2006 survey. In part, the survey (conducted by The Strategic Counsel, a private research firm) concluded that “despite a traditional viewpoint that students are distracted by their opposite sex peers and that boys, in particular are less focused in class, the data suggest that boys in coed schools are as engaged as their single-sex counterparts and relate equally to examples used by their teachers.”

The survey found that in general, students thrive in either a co-education or same sex environment. But the fine print of the findings did reveal some interesting data, such as “50% of those attending independent single-sex schools revealed they are ‘very confident’ that they will be academically prepared.”

On the important issue of bullying at school, single-sex school students reported far less (perhaps surprising to some): “[Verbal] harassments or attacks were noted as occurring ‘often or sometimes’ by at least 45% of students in public schools (54% coed, 45% girls-only) compared to 37% or less at independent schools (37% coed students and 35% single-sex).”

In the end, of course, the final decision as to whether you send your son (or daughter) to a single gender school is up to you and your child. There are certain advantages to the co-educational system but there remains a good argument today that boys’ only schools do have distinct advantages that allow them to remain a relevant alternative. To learn more about coed and single-sex schools, read our guide.

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Toronto, Ontario — Located in the heart of Toronto, UCC provides transformational learning experiences with exceptional day and boarding programs. Our highly sought-after graduates are awarded International Baccalaureate and OSSD diplomas. View School Profile.


  • High-achieving, all-round students
  • Challenging but rewarding IB program
  • First rate academics, athletics and arts
  • 19 different sports and 80+ clubs
  • Boutique urban boarding program
Grades:
SK to 12 (Boys)
Type:
Liberal Arts, International Baccalaureate
Tuition:
$36,750 to $71,875
Living:
Boarding/Day
Enrollment:
1200
Avg. Class:
20 to 25
Upper Canada College 36750 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Boys
 
 

Toronto, Ontario — 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. View School Profile.


  • Emphasis on leadership and character education
  • Strong alumni community
  • Generous financial aid
  • Enhanced service & mentoring opportunities
  • World champion robotics team and technology courses
Grades:
3 to 12 (Boys)
Type:
Progressive
Tuition:
$37,350
Living:
Day
Enrollment:
800
Avg. Class:
15 to 20
Crescent School 37350 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
 
 

Toronto, Ontario — 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. View School Profile.


  • 100% university placement
  • Boy-centric education
  • Computer Engineering & Entrepreneurship programs
  • AP Capstone school
  • Extensive athletic program
Grades:
3 to 12 (Boys)
Type:
Progressive
Tuition:
$35,880
Living:
Day
Enrollment:
447
Avg. Class:
16
Royal St. George's College 35880 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Dufferin Avenue/401 Highway
  • JK to 8 Boys
  • $33,400

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.

  • Day
  • Progressive
The Sterling Hall School 33400 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Boys
  • Toronto, Ontario
    York Mills Road/Don Mills Road
  • JK to 8 Boys
  • $19,600 to $23,900

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.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
Northmount School 19600 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Boys
  • Wellandport, Ontario
  • 5 to 12 Boys
  • $64,200 to $68,200

Robert Land Academy, established in 1978, is a private military-inspired boarding school (Gr 5-12) helping boys to experience validation, realize their potential and gain admission to post-secondary programs.

  • Boarding
  • Traditional
Robert Land Academy 64200 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Boys
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Shuter Street/Bond Street
  • 3 to 12 Boys
  • $7,650

St. Michael’s Choir School was founded in 1937 and provides sacred music for services at St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica. Located in downtown Toronto, SMCS is an all boys school from grades 3 through 12.

  • Day
  • Traditional
St. Michael's Choir School 7650 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • JK to 12 Boys/Girls/Coed
  • $13,820 to $19,360

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.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Sacred Heart School of Halifax 13820 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Day Boys Girls Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bathurst St./St. Clair West
  • 7 to 12 Boys
  • $21,500

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.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
St. Michael's College School 21500 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Duplex Ave/St Clements Ave
  • PS to 2 Coed/Boys
  • $10,000 to $21,075

At SCELS we believe giving children an early education will build a solid foundation to prepare them for their next school setting.

  • Day
  • Progressive
St. Clement's Early Learning School 10000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Day Coed Boys
  • Calgary, Alberta
    17th Ave SW/Richmond Road SW
  • K to 12 Girls/Boys/Coed
  • $8,000 to $15,500

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.

  • Day
  • Progressive
North Point School 8000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Day Girls Boys Coed
  • Oakville, Ontario
  • JK to 8 Boys
  • $24,700 to $29,200

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.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Linbrook School 24700 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Boys
  • Westmount, Quebec
  • K to 11 Boys
  • $20,850 to $26,990

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.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
Selwyn House School 20850 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
  • Aurora, Ontario
    St. John's Sideroad/Yonge Street
  • 5 to 12 Boys
  • $39,655 to $74,355

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.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Traditional
St. Andrew's College 39655 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Boys

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