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21st September 2022

Why Co-education?

As we recently celebrated 50 years of co-education, Megan Fairley, Head of Upper School, has shared her thoughts on why co-education is now embedded into the DNA of our School.

50 years of co-ed collage for web

Why co-education? For anyone well-versed in education spin this might seem like a difficult question to answer. We have all heard the stories about girls who finally feel able to geek out in Science without boys getting in their way; of boys who are happy to dance and talk about their feelings without being embarrassed in front of girls; about an education free of distractions from the opposite sex, as if the presence of someone with a different biological make up to you is the only thing that could distract a teenager.

Such arguments however, can have no sway and certainly no substantiation at Oakham. Ours is a place of female scientists and male dancers; of top-flight girls taking Maths, Physics and DT and superlative boys talking passionately about poetry, textiles and ethics.

It is a place in which we learn with and from each other, where we grow through our differences and where we work together to change the world for the better. It is, in short, the real world, and this is the answer to ‘Why co-education?’

Co-education because life is a co-lived existence. Co-education because we are at our best when we build meaningful relationships with people of all genders.

Co-education because our lives are enriched by diversity, and by exposure to as many different lived experiences as possible.

Co-education because it allows us to be completely and utterly ourselves, regardless of sexuality or gender identity.

It is hard to imagine Oakham School without co-education – it has shaped, challenged and pushed us more than we can possibly know and it is, quite simply, who we are.

We could not be more grateful for our trailblazing forebears who took the then-brave step of allowing girls onto this hallowed ground, because co-education is more than just your school days – it is life itself.

Read more about the milestone in our special souvenir brochure.

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