Reading Libby Purves in yesterday's Times gave me a lot of food for thought and is on a subject nothing to do with any of my boring things over the past few weeks. So here's to something completely different.
She is writing about co-education versus single sex schools. Did you know that in this country for example only twelve percent of State schools remain single sex?
My schooling was 1937 to 1949. I started out in a Lincolnshire village school - boys and girls. We all knew and played with one another long before we started school. In those days it was a small school with only two teachers. One - Miss Smith - had been a pupil teacher (common in those days). The babies adored her and I am sure we all learned a lot with her help.
The we 'went up' at seven into Miss Kirkbride's class and at this stage the boys left us and all went to the boys' school in the neighbouring village (the villages ran into each other so it wasn't far away). Mr Laws was in charge here and we all viewed him wi th a mixture of respect and awe (and he certainly never had discipline problems). At ten I won a Scholarship to Lincoln Girls' High School -a single sex school. After that I never encountered the opposite sex at school again...no boys, no male teachers.
Living in a village I knew and played with boys all the time. Maybe it would have been different if I had lived in a town.
Almost all of the Public Schools have been admitting girls for a few years now. (how much of this is because they need the extra money it brings in in these times when going to Public school is waning) or how much is because these schools want to encourage co-education is not for me to say. But of the 'top' schools only a handful remain single sex.
There is no doubt that out in the workplace the role of women is changeing. I really can't remember anyone ever being encouraged to work towards University in my day - maybe they were. My parents would have struggled but I was consistently at the top end in my class and I am certain that had it been suggested at least I would have been consulted.
Are there fors and againsts in total Co-ed throughout the country or should we work towards it? I would be interested to hear your views. I can't say that in the Workplace I ever felt discriminated against and I did rise quite rapidly through my profession to the level I wished to go.
Libby Purves rightly points out that female scientists, politicians and the like still 'attract comments for their looks and dress sense' in social media. Very rarely do men (although the photograph of our Prime Minister doing his morning exercises on the front page of The Times this morning has slightly altered my view with this statement). But how much of this has anything to do with single sex or co-education? Any feelings on the subject?