Call to end single-sex education
A PUSH for boys' and girls' schools to become co-educational has reached Queensland with claims the transition is necessary when recognising the importance of gender fluidity.
University of South Australia Associate Professor Judith Gill has been instrumental in the transition of a number of schools that have chosen to adopt co-education.
Ms Gill, who has also written two books on the topic, assisted Pulteney Grammar School and Saint Ignatius' College, both in Adelaide, with their transition.
"It's an educational move that's a good idea, partly because having separate schools seems to be one of the clearest demarcations of boys one way, girls are another way," she said.
"Together they are less likely to see the opposite gender as an entirely exotic beast but rather just the array of personal attributes that people can choose."
Ms Gill, who has spoken to schools around Australia about the move, said in many countries, all schools were co-educational.
"It seems like we're stuck with a sort of leftover tradition from British schooling which did maintain separate schools of males and females," she said.
"Certainly future schools are much more likely to be co-educational than not.
"Schools have a role in enabling young people to be much more broad in their choosing about how they want to be and that's more likely to occur in a co-educational environment.
"What we have to do is have a teaching force that is conscious of gender as an issue."
However, Independent Schools Queensland Executive Director David Robertson said the education branch would not support all schools becoming co-educational.
"The diversity of schools, such as single-sex, co-ed, faith-based or trade-based schools, exist in the non-state schooling sector because of parent and community demand for them," he said.
"It is important to remember that students in single-sex schools regularly engage with male and female staff, as well as students from other schools through sporting and cultural activities and competitions.
"Ultimately parents are the ones who know their child best and the type of education environment they believe is right to meet their child's academic and wellbeing needs."
LGBTI Legal Service president Matilda Alexander said making all schools co-ed would not necessarily achieve laws surrounding anti-discrimination.
"We encourage schools embrace a variety of changes including opening up sporting teams, providing safe toilet spaces and creating appropriate uniforms for all genders," she said.