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All-girls schools send more pupils on to universities


ALL-Girls schools outperform all-boys schools when it comes to sending students to university, our figures show - and mixed schools still lag behind their single-sex equivalents.

Our eight-year analysis shows that attending a single-sex school increases a student's chances of progressing to third level and university.

While the data cannot measure the social effects of attending a co-ed or mixed school, it does demonstrate that attending a same-sex school can help promote further academic achievement by helping students gain places in colleges.

International research has previously suggested there is no evidence that single-sex schooling is better. However, our findings show Irish universities take in more students from same-sex schools.

More than 81pc of students who attended a same-sex school in Ireland since 2009 have gone on to study at third level. This compares to just 71pc of students who attended a co-ed school.

This means that 28pc of mixed school students did not secure a place in third level, compared to 18pc for students who went to same-sex schools. It is not possible to measure how many of these students went on to take up Post Leaving Cert Courses (PLCs) in colleges of further education. The remaining 1pc of students went on to study in Britain.

The likelihood of getting into a university is also increased by attending same-sex schools, according to the data. However, students in all-girls schools have shown a better ability to secure university places than all-boys schools.

Some 43pc of boys and girls who attended same-sex schools secured places in university in the past eight years. Less than one third (32pc) of all students from mixed schools found a place in an Irish university during the same period.

All-girls schools marginally outperformed all-boys for the second year in a row with 44pc of their students securing university places in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland; 42pc of boys coming out of a same-sex school secured a place in the same universities.

This can partially be attributed to the fact that boys are more likely than girls to take up a place in an institute of technology (IT). Four out of every 10 (40pc) boys who attended a single-sex school went to institutes of technology in the past eight years. Just over one third of those who attend ed an all-girls school availed of places in ITs during the same period. However, academic achievement in exams also has a role to play here.

A gender analysis of last year's Leaving Cert results shows girls outperformed boys in the majority of subjects, securing more A, B and C grades in 26 of the 32 higher-level subjects available. Girls are more likely to study and do well in art, languages and biology, while more boys tend to take STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, although girls performed as well, if not better, than boys in these areas last year.

Sunday Independent

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Education Minister Richard Bruton. Photo: Tom Burke