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Many people might think that boys’ school is an outdated concept from a previous ‘patriarchal’ era.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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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 Boarding Day 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
  • $39,590
 
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Crescent School 39590 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys

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
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
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
Wellandport, Ontario
 
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"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." —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 (Girls/Coed/Boys)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $14,370 to $20,130
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Sacred Heart School of Halifax 14370 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Day Girls Coed Boys
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
  • $41,440 to $77,070
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St. Andrew's College 41440 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
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 (Girls/Coed/Boys)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum
  • $6,300 to $17,400
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Clear Water Academy 6300 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Day Day Girls Coed 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
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
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
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