Why girls’ education is important to us

We work hard at Westlake Girls High School to ensure we remain at the cutting edge of girls’ education, and understanding how females process and retain information.

As part of our commitment to girls’ education, we belong to the Alliance of Girls School Australasia. The Alliance is the region’s leading voice for the education and empowerment of girls and young women. They advocate for, and support, the distinctive work of girls’ schools in our provision of unparalleled opportunities for girls.

The Alliance connects educators from 190+ member schools from across six countries, and provides research into key areas of girls’ education. The latest research on their website looks at how to increase girls’ engagement with physical education classes, and the impact of lockdowns on social media usage by teens. Other topics have included sex-based bullying, gender inequity in STEM and gender fluidity in single-sex classrooms.

“Being one of the largest girls schools in New Zealand, we have proactively sought to understand best practice so we can provide the optimal learning environment for our students,” says Principal Jane Stanley. “We can tailor our classes and our focus is solely on how girls learn.

“We are constantly looking for ways to refine our teaching methods and classroom environment, gleaning from the depth of research available.”

Two years ago, The Alliance commissioned a report looking at Australian and New Zealand Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) data, from 2015-2018. It included 314 individual measures comparing the responses of girls from single-sex and co-ed schools.

The report found that girls at single-sex schools out-performed girls from co-ed schools on nearly all academic measures, and social and emotional outcomes. Alliance Executive Officer Loren Bridge said part of the success was down to girls schools being able to create learning environments and experiences that shape girls’ self concept, helping them to overcome the gender biases and stereotypes that exist in our society.

She said in a girls school there are fewer barriers to participation and every aspect of school life is designed and tailored for girls.

Here at Westlake, our vision is to help create confident, robust, optimistic, proud citizens of Aotearoa New Zealand, equipped for global success. We do this through our Strategic Plan, which focuses on three key areas – Understanding Growth, Inspiring Growth and Leading Growth. We’ll be able to share more about our 2022-2025 Strategic Plan with you shortly.