I have written previously on MercatorNet that public funding for schools cannot be conditional on whether or not a school subscribes to a prevailing ideology. No good can come of this. Funding for religious schools cannot be tied to a condition of employing teachers who by their lifestyle undermine a school's ethos.
But neither can public funding of schools be conditional on an ideology of coeducation. Recently in the Australian press John Simpson, a former member of the board of (Presbyterian) Scotch College, made the case that single-sex schools have had their day in this country and do not deserve public financial support. (1)
He argued that they have been supported on economic grounds (being cheaper to establish that co-eds) but do not reflect the principles of diversity and equality seen in Australia’s multicultural society, nor live up to their supposed academic superiority. In any case no-one had established such a school in this country for 20 years, he said.
The last point is easy to refute: I write as the former Headmaster of two Sydney independent boys’ schools, Redfield College in the Hills district, and Wollemi College, founded in the west of Sydney in 2005. I am now on the board of Harkaway Hills College, which started in 2016 in Melbourne’s south east, a growing school modelled on the other Parents for Education schools in Sydney.
Despite recurrent criticism by progressive educationalists, single sex
schooling has maintained an important role in many countries. In the United
States between 2002 and 2012, the number of single-sex public schools grew from
only about a dozen to an estimated 500, according to the National Association
for Single Sex Public Education.