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Why a girls’ school?

At Penrhos we believe strongly in the benefits of a single-sex education for girls. We see the benefits of our girls-only environment every day, in the way our students act, think and achieve – in the classroom, on the stage, on the sporting field, and in their breaks with their classmates.

At a girls’ school, the environment is tailored to support all aspects of a girl’s development, and at Penrhos, this aligns strongly with our four commitments:

No ceilings; make your own adventure; find the fun; and be a force for good.


The evidence

There is significant research that demonstrates the positive effects a girls-only education can have, across the following key themes.

Wellbeing and safety

Several studies have shown that girls feel more comfortable, self-assured and supported in a women only environment as compared to co-educational settings. 

Research demonstrates there is significantly less bullying and a lower frequency of aggressive behaviours at girls’ schools, as well as fewer incidences of classrooms that are disrupted, or difficult to concentrate or work in. 

Confidence, self-image, and finding her voice.

There is no place for inequality, sexism or misogyny at a girls’ school. A girls’ school gives its students the knowledge and skills required to overcome social and cultural gender biases.

Studies consistently show single-sex environments build confidence and self-worth for women and girls – which has an incredible power and impact on their successful educational journey. Girls at single-sex schools are encouraged to speak up in class, take healthy risks with their learning, including taking traditionally ‘male-dominated’ classes, ask questions and share their views. 

Participation and enjoyment

From science to sport, girls feel less self-conscious and have a stronger sense of belonging at a girls’ school. This presents itself through higher participation in STEM subjects and aspiration rates for related careers compared with girls in co-ed schools.  Girls at single-sex schools have more positive and favourable attitudes towards maths. Girls’ school graduates are also more likely to enter highly paid male dominated fields such as engineering and construction. 

Academic success and future aspirations

The research is clear that girls who attend single-sex schools have higher aspirations and better academic outcomes – around 10 percentage points higher - even after accounting for their socio-economic background. This is experienced across the board, including through higher tertiary entrance and NAPLAN scores.

Girls who attend Penrhos are exposed to and encouraged to build strong aspirations for their future. They are more likely to achieve well at school, be confident of their academic ability and aspire to graduate and postgraduate study. They are taught to be strong, independent leaders, and have increased opportunities to experience leadership, with all leadership positions in a girls’ school naturally being filled by girls.

“When girls become the focal point, they rise to a greater level of development than might otherwise ordinarily be the case” (Watson, Quatman and Edler 2002)

* All research outcomes quoted in this document can be found in ‘The Girls’ School Edge’, published by the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia (now part of the International Coalition of Girls' Schools)


What about boys?

Girls’ schools work to develop the confidence and self-esteem of students across all areas – including how they learn to interact and build relationships with the opposite sex.

The ‘real world’ is mixed gender, and our students need to be prepared for that.  However, the real world is unfortunately also one where women are not always considered to be equal.

We believe we are best setting our students up for success by allowing them a tailored environment which supports them to feel confident, secure and ambitious, and facilitating regular, positive and constructive interactions with their male peers.

At Penrhos we have a strong relationship with our brother school Wesley College. This relationship provides students of all ages the opportunity to engage meaningfully, on academic and social issues, with their male peers in a supportive environment.

Penrhos and Wesley hold collaboration days, quiz nights, collaborative delivery of an ATAR subject (Outdoor Education) and regular opportunities for students to meet, learn, and engage with one another, as well as the traditional social get togethers, and we continue to work together in an academic and pastoral sense to provide our students with the best opportunities to collaborate.

We also work with other boys’ schools from time to time, including throughout our Junior School, facilitate opportunities for the children to play and learn alongside one another.

* As a girls’ school, when referring to our students as a group we typically refer to them as students, girls, ladies or young women. If an individual student expresses a preference for a different name and/or pronoun for themselves this is respected, honoured and observed.