As I mentioned on day one of Blogtober17, I went to an all girls grammar school. It was a great experience in some ways, but an upsetting, isolating one in others.
The best thing was probably being in n environment where everyone was of a similar level academically and wanted to learn. There were a lot fewer distractions and interruptions in class, which meant you could really get into the subject and feel like you had learned something at the end of each day.
Another great point was the range of subjects. I feel there were some classes I took that wouldn’t necessarily have been offered at every other school. Latin, Classical Civilisations, Russian and Government and Politics to name a few. These were subjects I enjoyed learning and feel lucky to have had the opportunity to experience.
On the other hand, there were downsides to attending a school like that. The main thing that still bothers me a decade after I left is the dismissive attitude towards my student who wasn’t aspiring to go on to Oxford or Cambridge universities to study medicine, dentistry, vetinary science or law. Those students were given much more time, support and advice. The rest of us were pushed aside like we weren’t worthy of their effort. My mother was actually called into the school by the head of sixth form when she saw my university choices and urged to change my mind. Thankfully, she told them she wouldn’t do that, otherwise I wouldn’t have had the wonderful experiences I got from doing my “unconventional” university course and, more importantly, I wouldn’t have met my husband.
Would I encourage my children to go to a similar school? I’m honestly not sure. It would very much depend on the child. I saw many girls flourish at the school and go on to do some very impressive things, but I also saw some, like myself, who felt unimportant and invisible at times.