Westonbirt School has been a single sex environment for the last 90 years, recently celebrating this milestone birthday. In step with a significant shift in attitudes around gender in the wider world, and following extensive research and consultation, Westonbirt has decided that educationally, it is the right time to step up and be part of the gender-equality movement.
Enabling both girls and boys to develop, succeed and assert themselves with confidence and mutual respect is an exciting challenge which Head Natasha Dangerfield and the leadership team are ready to meet. The vision for Westonbirt co-education, built on a foundation of parity between the sexes, outstanding learning and a progressive approach to senior education, aims to be quite different from co-education created by admitting girls to a boys’ school.
Opening up the senior school to boys is a natural evolution for Westonbirt’s successful co-educational prep school. There is already a strong demand for senior places among parents of Westonbirt Prep boys, and from the wider local community, including fellow Wishford schools Heywood Prep, Hatherop Castle and Cricklade Manor Prep. While the 2019 Year 7 intake will progress naturally up the school, with sufficient demand transition to co-ed may be accelerated, with year 9 entry in 2020 and Year 12 in 2021.
The move will be carefully managed, to impact as little as possible on those girls already at Westonbirt School; girls who will, nevertheless, provide outstanding role models for the younger children.
Natasha Dangerfield said: The success of the school is built on a clear understanding that learning must be tailored for every child. We do not believe Westonbirt is defined by the school's structure, nor by traditional concepts of what girls' education looks like. Our pupils thrive not because they are in an all-girl setting, but because the environment we have created allows us to respond to each as an individual.
Sam Antrobus, Executive Chairman of Wishford Schools said: This is a fantastic opportunity to redefine what co-education in a senior school should look like. The investment programme planned will support the very best possible learning experiences for both girls and boys and we are delighted to work together to offer local parents greater choice.
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