Why Choose a Girls’ School?
Why Fairholme – because we specialise in all girls’ education, (as well as co-educational kindergarten). From Prep onwards, however, our focus is very much upon the education of girls; creating classrooms that suit the learning of girls; challenging stereotypical views of females’ role in education and ultimately, growing confident young women who are leaders within their respective communities. The cliché ‘girls can do anything’ typifies the Fairholme experience. Implicit or even explicit gendered boundaries that often exist in a co-educational setting, simply don’t exist at Fairholme. This is evident in the operation of the Sound and Lighting box, participation in the Sciences, leadership involvement and general spirited and willing engagement in all levels of school life.
Evidence of a supportive academic environment is also apparent in performance data related to an all girls’ environment. Analysis of Years 7 & 9 numeracy and literacy (NAPLAN) data conducted on behalf of The Australian newspaper in 2013, indicated that 46 of Australia’s ‘Top 100 Secondary Schools’ were girls' only schools, and those 46 schools constituted 1.7% of Australia's 2700 secondary schools. Furthermore, girls at Fairholme debunk the ‘stereotype threat’ (Booth, Cardona-Sosa and Nolen, 2013) where girls are stereotyped as being less able to undertake subjects in the Mathematics, Science and Technology areas. Tully and Jacobs (2010) concur, stating that the culture of a [girls’] school may provide a distinctive socialisation process, one that allows a young woman the autonomy and agency to stretch beyond stereotypical career expectations and aspirations.
In our classrooms this is manifest in girls willing to take positive risks in their learning without inhibition: there is an absence of passivity in learning and a plethora of activity; we see it in their energetic participation in Sport at unparalleled rates and their wholehearted engagement in the Arts and service activities. A typical Fairholme girl is busy with life and learning and is developing self-confidence, responsibility and compassion for others, as she does so. And whilst there are lots of social activities where we join with local boys’ schools, our girls also have the opportunity to develop deep friendships with one another, friendships that invariably last a lifetime.
Booth, A., Cardona-Sosa, L., and Nolen, P. (2013). ‘Do single-sex classes affect exam scores? An experiment in a co-educational university.’ Australian National University Centre for Economic Policy Research. Discussion Paper No. 679, 1-21.
Tully, D., & Jacobs, B. (2010). ‘Effects of single-gender mathematics classroom on self-perception of mathematical ability and post secondary engineering paths: An Australian case study.’ European Journal of Engineering Education, 33(4), 455-467. DOI: 10.1080/03043797.2010.489940.
Your School Top 100 Rankings Tables. (2014). The Australian. Retrieved from: www.theaustralian.com.au