Specialists in education for girls
We are committed to single-sex education in the Senior School at Thornton. Based on educational research and our experience, we know that single-sex education offers girls the greatest chance to ignore stereotypes, develop strong self-worth, grow in confidence and achieve the best academic results of which they are capable.
In a senior co-educational classroom, boys take up more than two thirds of a teacher's time – we can give girls our undivided attention. Our learning environment is tailored to their needs and interests, and without the boys, girls show fewer inhibitions and take more risks.
At Thornton, girls take on all the leadership roles and are surrounded by strong female role models. Girls leave us, not only ready to take their place in the world as a person of equal intellectual stature, but also with the understanding that they are capable of running the show.
As an all-girls school, Thornton has many advantages. Girls leave us as well-rounded, confident and aspirational individuals who are ready to meet the demands of a modern and complex multi-cultural, twenty-first century society.
A single-sex education offers girls the chance to be themselves, and to know themselves and what they think before they meet the demands and pressures of a world which still seeks to make them conform to stereotypes into which they do not necessarily want to fit. When they do leave a single-sex education system, they have a greater sense of maturity which allows them to make the transition to adult life. They are comfortable ‘within their own skin’, having been encouraged to believe in their own self-worth and individuality without having to meet the expectations and ‘norms’ imposed upon them by their peer group, their teachers and society in general.
A single-sex education is not a barrier to academic achievement and success, it is quite the opposite as numerous league tables would testify. The top schools in the country for academic success are single-sex, particularly up to GCSE level. It is a proven fact that girls are more successful in the so-called ‘boys’ subjects’ such as Maths and Science, in single-sex schools. This is largely because within the classroom environment there are no barriers to learning and girls do not see themselves as automatically disadvantaged.
There are no boys to reinforce the stereotype that they alone have a natural aptitude for these subjects, and girls have the freedom to be less inhibited and to take a confident lead rather than a ‘back-seat’. Less confrontational or ‘silly’ behaviour within the classroom promotes a calm and focused atmosphere which is more conducive to learning and allows a mature level of debate and discussion which would otherwise not be possible. As girls mature earlier than boys, they are able to reflect in a more sensible way on subjects and issues which in a co-educational classroom would not be possible.
Our focus on offering an education tailored to the interests and aspirations of girls is intrinsic in everything we offer, from our lesson planning, selection of co-curricular activities and trips and sporting opportunities down to what is on the menu!
Thornton pupils have an exceptionally strong work ethic and understand that the school has high expectations of them as individuals. We offer a calm (most of the time!) and purposeful environment in which to learn and grow. Corridors and playgrounds are free of boisterous behaviour and girls are happy and confident to be ‘children’ well into their senior school education.
An additional bonus for parents is that without what is undoubtedly the distracting presence of boys, teenage girls focus more on their work and less on their appearance as there in no-one to impress!
Studies have shown that girls in single sex schools are more likely to:
- Show higher levels of participation and engagement, and have a stronger sense of capability in maths and science subjects
- Perform better in examinations – particularly up to GCSE level
- Have lower levels of stereotypical views
- Experience increased student-teacher interaction and increased focus on class work
Links to related articles
Girls School Association - Why choose a girls' school?