Going to an all-girls’ school doesn’t mean you’re rubbish at talking to boys

Our social skills are fine thank you

Richard Cairns, the headmaster of a mixed secondary school, recently wrote an article claiming girls who attend single-sex schools face being at a “huge disadvantage” compared to girls at mixed schools.

Why? Because, according to Mr Cairns, we’re unable to meaningfully converse and communicate with male colleagues. Yes, despite dominating the league tables and outperforming other students in exams we’re actually at a huge disadvantage when it comes to chatting up boys.


Girls’ school educated female (left) meaningfully conversing with a male

I went to an all-girls’ school, the previous headmistress of which, Caroline Jordan, is president of the Girls’ Schools Association. She said she was staggered by these comments, and I am too.

The 1.3bn people in the world who live in extreme poverty? They’re at a disadvantage. So are the Syrians trying to flee ISIS. However, students at single-sex institutions? Nah, we’re alright.

As an alum of an all-girls’ school I can confirm that we are, in fact, sociable beings who would sometimes, sometimes, venture across the school car park into the big bad world. And you know what we used to find there? Boys. Lots of boys. Everywhere we looked.

Just some meaningful communication

Just some communication with a colleague

Mr Cairns believes girls’ school pupils can “suffer a degree of emotional intensity that can lead to bullying”, forgetting the fact bullying happens at every school. Ask anyone and they’ll have a story about a school bully. It’s not a gender-related issue at all. Plus, what even is emotional intensity? Does he think we all just sat around crying about our periods? To imply we need boys to dilute this emotional intensity is insulting.

Apparently, the strength of a mixed-sex environment is there is a place for everyone and an environment where girls and boys can be themselves but I’m pretty sure I was never more myself than at my girls’ school. We were able to talk freely about life’s most important questions: how to get your eyeliner equal, if it’s weird to keep a vibrator in school, why one boob is smaller than the other, as well as the other questions of course, you know, like how we’re going to break that glass celling everyone always talks about.

Comments like Mr Cairns’s add to the common misconception that single-sex education produces people with social skills equivalent to the Indian guy from the Big Bang theory. This just isn’t true.

As shocking as it might seem we’re actually totally normal.