Single-sex schools 'outdated' with calls to end them in next 10-15 years

Single-sex schools 'outdated' with calls to end them in next 10-15 years

Digital Desk Staff

The Government will face calls this week to end “outdated” single-sex school admission policies within a 10- to 15-year period.

Ireland has a relatively high proportion of single-sex schools by international standards, which is regarded as a a legacy of the church's control over the education system.

As The Irish Times reports, The Labour Party will publish a Private Member’s Bill which seeks to end gender discrimination in school admission.


Aodhán Ó Ríordáin the party’s education spokesman, said single-sex education was an “anomaly” for a new generation of parents.

He said moves to promote consent and tackle “toxic masculinity” make more sense when boys and girls are educated together.

“We’re working to put a greater emphasis on gender mix in politics, sport and business – yet this is the one area that we haven’t addressed,” he said.

“It also makes it harder to break down barriers to gender equality when we separate boys and girls. And on a practical level, it makes no sense for many parents to have to drop children off at separate schools.”

Public funding


The Bill proposes giving primary schools a 10-year period to end single-sex admissions and secondary schools a 15-year period.

After this period has elapsed, he said the State should cease providing public funding to schools which continue to discriminate on the basis of gender.

About 17 per cent of all primary schools in the State are single-sex, while about a third of secondary schools are either all-boys or all-girls.

When asked for its views on the issue, the Department of Education said questions such as whether schools are single sex or co-educational rested with school patron bodies, subject to the agreement of the department.


It said new schools are generally co-educational in nature and provide greater flexibility than single-sex schools in meeting demographic requirements in an area.