Single-sex and co-educational secondary schooling: what are the social and family outcomes, in the short and longer term?


  • Alice Sullivan Institute of Education
  • Heather Joshi CLS, Institute of Education, University of London
  • Diana Leonard Institute of Education, University of London



Single-sex, co-education, schooling, social, family, NCDS


This paper considers the question of whether attending a single-sex or co-educational secondary school made any difference to a range of social outcomes for girls and boys at school, and for men and women as they progressed through the life course.  We examine these questions using data from a large and nationally representative sample of British respondents born in 1958. The outcomes examined include whether or not the participants liked school; their histories of partnership formation and dissolution; childbearing; attitudes to gender roles; and well-being. Among the minority of outcomes showing a significant link to attending a single sex school were lower truancy, and for males, dislike of school, divorce, and malaise at 42 (if they had been to private or grammar schools).

Author Biographies

Alice Sullivan, Institute of Education

Director British Cohort Study 1970

Diana Leonard, Institute of Education, University of London

Feminist activist and scholar, died 2010.