Alliance responds to Prof John Hattie questioning value of single-sex schooling

31 May 2016

In response to Prof John Hattie, Professor of Education and Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, and his recent comments on single-sex schooling ahead of tonight’s release of the ABC’s Revolution School, the Alliance is reiterating that evidence continues to support single-sex schools for girls, not just on the basis of academic results.

While the Alliance welcomes all research into educational trends and practices, single-sex education is a vital option for students.

According to the Herald Sun (27 May), Prof Hattie stated that ‘other fallacies are that single-sex schools…make a big difference to grades.’

Yet another report released just this month, by Associate Professor C. Kirabo Jackson, a labour economist at Northwestern University in the United States, on the switch to single-sex in Trinidad in low-income schools concluded that “the results indicate sizable [sic] benefits to single-sex schooling for the student population under study.”1

Additionally, Professor Alison Booth, Public Policy Fellow at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy, found positive affects on academic results in single-sex classes when she said, “the evidence is gathering that women in single-gender classes benefit, and they benefit significantly.”2

Alliance President, Fran Reddan, emphasised that single-sex schools give girls and boys the opportunity to be taught in relevant ways to suit their different stages of development.

‘Parents also choose girls’ schools for their safe, nurturing environment; for the quality of pastoral care that is designed specifically for girls; and for the excellent female role models who encourage their daughters to aim high in whichever path they choose to follow,’ Mrs Reddan said.

1.Jackson, C. K. (2016, May).The effect of single-sex education on academic outcomes and crime: Fresh evidence from low-performing schools in Trinidad and Tobago.National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 22222. Retrieved from:

2. Could girls be better off in single-sex schools? Sydney Morning Herald, 13 Oct 2014, from: