You may be familiar with the expression Diamond Model from economics or, perhaps, even football.
However, it is increasingly gaining importance within the world of education. Historically, parents have been faced with a simple choice for their children – single sex or co-education. The underlying dilemma is how can one truly make an informed choice?
Guy Kelly examined this carefully in an article for The Telegraph where he succinctly expresses the problem: “The arguments for and against each system will be familiar and backed by enough evidence (both of an anecdotal and academic kind) to reasonably conclude either way.” It is against this background that parents often struggle to really understand the issues involved.
Thankfully, there is now a third way as more schools adopt the Diamond Model. This provides co-education in the formative years of education before boys and girls are taught separately through the turbulent years of adolescence then reuniting for a co-educational sixth form, the ideal preparation for higher education. Writing in The Spectator, Tricia Kelleher, who is principal of the Stephen Perse Foundation in Cambridge, stated: “We offer the right combination of single-sex and co-education that helps the child to progress academically and socially in the best possible way.”
This is not some new trendy fad. There is a growing body of research to support the view that this model provides the very best opportunities academically, and for pastoral care, for both boys and girls. For example, the Independent Schools Council has highlighted the fact that boys and girls generally do better at GCSE within a Diamond Model. Indeed, it is no coincidence that such a school was voted TES School of the Year, highlighting the strong academic achievement of its pupils.
It is now fair to say that many schools across the UK are actively investigating the benefits of this modern structure for 21st century education. Moreover, following a conference earlier this year hosted by a school in Ipswich, a Diamond Schools’ Network has been established which will help to promote the benefits of this innovation within the wider education community.
Turning to the local scene in Surrey, there was great excitement when it was recently announced that St Teresa’s School, Effingham and Cranmore School were forming a strategic partnership – The Effingham Schools Trust – which will provide education for boys and girls aged two to 18 within a Diamond Model.
Both schools are blessed with an exceptional campus and outstanding facilities. Cranmore will host the co-educational nursery and junior department. Thereafter, girls will transfer to the St. Teresa’s site, whilst boys will continue in the senior department at Cranmore until age 16 when they will join the girls at St. Teresa’s for a co-educational sixth form. Of course, this does not all happen overnight, and it will take several years for the programme to be fully completed. However, given the strong reputation of both schools, one can see how the Effingham Schools Trust will be one of the major providers of high-quality independent education in Surrey.essence info
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