Saint Christina’s has always believed that co-education is the best form of education for children as they grow up and develop their understanding of the world around them. From the foundation of the School in 1949, boys have been part of our story. However, the model of schooling that existed at that time meant that they transferred to older settings at 7 and so they left Saint Christina’s. In 2018 we made the decision to change this and extend our provision for boys up to Year 6 and thus began our journey to full co-education.
Our commitment to provide a future-facing education acknowledges that to succeed in the workplace children will need strong interpersonal skills such as empathy, teamwork and communication. We believe that these skills are more readily acquired in a co-educational environment because it reflects real life.
In our experience friendships develop in a very natural way in a co-educational school. This happens because the children live, eat, debate, play and learn together side by side. There are so many activities, societies and clubs in the school in which girls and boys take part in natural, well-supervised surroundings. Friendships develop spontaneously and this friendly atmosphere continues into the classroom allowing the children to express their views openly and assertively.
In addition, we believe that a co-educational school is beneficial in challenging unhelpful attitudes. Much of the learning which takes place at Saint Christina’s allows for considerable classroom discussion and debate. Everyone’s perspectives are explored providing a very important learning experience for all. The children learn that 'equality' does not mean 'sameness' - that girls and boys often have different perspectives on the same issues and that each approach has a great deal to offer the other.
As a father of four children, who has worked in selective and non-selective, single sex and co-educational day and boarding settings over 30 years, I have chosen to place my children in schools where I believe they will be able to flourish, first and foremost because they would be well and happy. They have all attended non-selective co-educational schools and they have and are doing extremely well. We can sometimes lose sight of the horizon as we debate schooling in North London. The reality is, that very few parents do not want their children to grow up to be happy, well-adjusted and confident individuals. We believe that a very strong element in this mix are the organic benefits that growing up together within a natural, co-educational setting brings.
As we survey the emerging world that we dwell in, filled as it is with digital media and unfettered freedom of expression, we believe more than ever, that the children that we are raising need to have an understanding of each other. Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Trinity College puts it thus: “A strong reason for co-education is that separating children for a number of years means they will not be mixing and learning about each other.”