My son thrived in an all boys school, my daughters are ok with coeducation

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So what should a conscientious parent do? How do we make sense of all the mixed messages and do the right thing for our children?

Well, first of all, I think we need to calm down. No matter what the experts tell us, there is no clear “right” way when it comes to parenting. There are many ways to raise a child and there are certainly many ways to educate one.

Unisex v mixed is just a binary classification. There are dozens of ways to rank and rate a school. There is religious v secular, public v private, academically selective v inclusive, specialized v generalist.

Most importantly, each school has a unique culture and ethos, informed by the student body, parent body, teachers, and location. The school’s approach to learning, its pastoral care and the quality of the teaching staff are far more important than gender diversity in the classroom.

Also, every child is different and what works for one child may not work for another. My son did well in a single-sex school. My friend’s son, who mostly socializes with girls, wouldn’t.

And finally, academic success is not everything. I remember this so vividly today as my son takes his math exam. I hope, of course, that he will succeed, but his ATAR is only a measure of his academic achievements. Much more important to me is the moral character he developed, his resilience, his empathy and his sense of joy in the world.

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We parents spend far too much time agonizing over our parenting choices and listening to the “experts” and far too little time enjoying our children. A percentile here and there really doesn’t matter, as long as our children are happy, settled and safe. Let’s calm down and get our priorities straight. There is so much more to parenthood and to life.

Kerri Sackville is a writer from Sydney.

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