The horrific circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Sarah Everard have harnessed an awareness of the everyday fears faced by women across the world. In the wake of this heightened awareness, Soma Sara’s campaign, ‘Everybody’s Invited’, went viral.   


This campaign is focused on exposing rape culture, especially within schools, through “conversation, education and support.” The platform has provided support to victims of abuse, both men and women and opened a forum of discussion for young people to voice their experiences and views from both a single sex or co-educational background.   


Alia Javis, a pupil currently in a co-educational school expressed her thoughts. “It depends on the person, but I feel leaving a single sex school after 5 years could prove a shock whereas a mixed environment gives you better social skills and will prepare you for the real world, where you will be forced to work with the opposite sex.”  


A study done by the University of Queensland showed that girls leaving single-sex schools were on average more confident than those leaving co-ed schools. I spoke to Maya Gunarajah, a student currently in a co-ed sixth form college, but previously in all-girls school who said, “At my previous school there was a lot of focus on things like “Girls in STEM” and talks on gender equality, but in an all-girl's environment there is an element of comparing yourself to other female students (whether that be subconsciously or not) in grades and looks.”   


One of the biggest attributes in single sex school is their exam results, averaging consistently higher than those of co-ed schools. But grades are only a part of education.  Aanshi Lal, currently at an all-girls school told me, “Academically, I do focus better in some ways as it’s a bit more relaxed and less awkward. However, the social element can be quite toxic and overwhelming. I think it’s healthier to be in a mixed environment socialising with both boys and girls.”   


 Easan Gunarajah, previously from an all-boys school said, “Going to an all-boys school gave me a competitive edge against others, but people were able to get away with making derogatory comments, also the environment was such that we were more likely to become aggressive and ignorant towards women, whereas in a mixed environment I think this would be different.”  


Your school experience has the power to shape the person you become. Kyran de Silva, an alumnus of KCS Wimbledon (the school making headlines as “A hotbed for sexual violence”) expressed his concerns with all-boys private schools; “Mixed schools should be the standard everywhere. I went to all-boys schools for most of my life and think a mixed environment can help prepare boys for the real world. Boys-only private schools are particularly damaging for wider society, and can become breeding grounds for toxic masculinity, misogyny, racism, and homophobia.  These schools would like to project themselves as well-oiled machines of first-class education. In reality, they often miss the mark on educating students about societal realities.” 


I think single sex schools focusing on academic achievement are in danger of creating a driven and empowered culture of learning within an unbalanced and unrealistic environment. For these students however, the modern workplace will call for greater empathy and a more socially dynamic personality.