The Diamond Model2018-06-28T08:35:43+00:00

The Diamond Model

The Diamond Model is a truly “best of both worlds’ scenario, which has become increasingly favoured by schools with similar backgrounds to our own. It is seen as an approach which not only gets the very best from pupils, but also from teaching staff, as they are able to tailor their professional techniques for girls and boys.

The model offers the benefits of the single-sex classroom for ‘pre-teen and lower-teen’ students, whilst gaining from the social benefits of a co-educational school. The Diamond Model recognises that, as girls and boys reach their teenage years, they approach their learning in different ways. Boys, for example, are more spatially aware, and girls have well-developed verbal skills. It is right, therefore, that as a modern educational institution, keen to deliver the best possible methods of teaching for our pupils, we should take this into account and shape our approach with this in mind.

Alongside the ability to tailor teaching, the Diamond Model also allows pastoral care to be focused on the gender-specific needs of the pupils. This system encourages pupils to develop positive and respectful relationships with the opposite sex.

Pre-Prep to Year 4

Fully co-educational. Up to and including Year 4 we are fully co-educational, with boys and girls taking all their lessons together.

Years 5 & 6

From Year 5 at the Junior School, boys and girls enter single-sex classes for core areas, whilst continuing to mix in other subjects, plus clubs and enrichment activities.

Single-sex

Maths, English, Science, Sports

Co-educational

All other subjects, clubs and enrichment sessions

Years 7 & 8

In Years 7 and 8, girls and boys take single-sex lessons for some subjects, whilst continuing to mix in both clubs and enrichment activities.

Single-sex

Maths, English, Science, Sports, Performing Arts

Co-educational

All other subjects, clubs and enrichment sessions

 

Year 9

In Year 9 pupils learn in single-sex lessons for English, Maths, Science and Sports but join together for other subjects, clubs and enrichment activities.

Single-sex

Maths, English, Science, Sports

Co-educational

All other subjects, clubs and enrichment sessions

Years 10 & 11

English, Maths, Science and Sports remain single-sex lessons in Year 10 and 11, whilst students join together for other subjects, clubs and enrichment activities.

Single-sex

Maths, English, Science, Sports

Co-educational

All other subjects, clubs and enrichment sessions

6th Form

Our Sixth Form is fully co-educational, with boys and girls learning together in all subjects.

A Proven Approach

Examination data collected by the Independent Schools Council (ISC) in August 2016 evidences the positive academic benefits for employing the Diamond Model of teaching in co-educational independent schools at GCSE.

For GCSE, for both girls and boys, a higher percentage of pupils gained five or more A* to C grades Girls 96.4% and Boys 97.8% compared to counterparts in fully co-educational schools. The ISC results at A Level indicate that there is no difference in the results for percentage of pupils achieving A*-C grades, regardless of which co-ed teaching model is followed.

The table below demonstrates how we intend to transition to a Diamond Model in the coming years:

Academic Year Pre-Prep and Prep School Senior School Sixth Form
2017 – 2018 Girls Only Girls Only Girls Only
2018 – 2019 Pre-Prep – Year 4 – Co-ed
Years 5 and 6 – Co-ed Diamond
Girls Only Year 12 – Co-ed
Year 13 – Girls Only
2019 – 2020 Pre-Prep – Year 4 – Co-ed
Years 5 and 6 – Co-ed Diamond
Year 7 – Co-ed Diamond
Years 8 to 11 – Girls Only
Fully Co-ed
2020 – 2021 WPP – Year 4 – Co-ed
Years 5 and 6 – Co-ed Diamond
Year 7 and 8 – Co-ed Diamond
Years 9 to 11 – Girls Only
Fully Co-ed
2021 – 2022 WPP – Year 4 – Co-ed
Years 5 and 6 – Co-ed Diamond
Year 7 to 9 – Co-ed Diamond
Years 10 and 11 – Girls Only
Fully Co-ed
2022 – 2023 WPP – Year 4 – Co-ed
Years 5 and 6 – Co-ed Diamond
Year 7 to 10 – Co-ed Diamond
Year 11 – Girls Only
Fully Co-ed
2023 – 2024 WPP – Year 4 – Co-ed
Years 5 and 6 – Co-ed Diamond
Fully Co-ed Diamond Fully Co-ed

Diamond Model Schools

There are two types of Diamond School: two-site and single-site models. Two-site models derive from the merger of two schools, and result in girls and boys being taught at separate sites for 11-16. Single-site Diamond Schools are resultant of admitting the opposite gender into single-sex schools. Boys and girls are taught separately in the same building but have clubs, enrichment activities and lunch together. There are nearly 20 independent schools across the country that have adopted the Diamond Model, including Brentwood School, The Steven Perse Foundation and New Hall School. New Hall was the first independent girls’ school to adopt this approach. Since 2005, the school roll has grown from 580 students to 1,150 today, with a gender ratio of 50:50 from 2010.

Why adopt the diamond model rather than becoming fully co-educational?

ISC data in 2016 revealed that GCSE performance for girls and boys is higher in a diamond model environment rather than in a fully co-ed one. 96.4% of girls achieved 5 A*-C, grades compared to 89.7% in a co-ed environment, and 97.8% of boys achieved 5 A*-C grades compared to 87.6%. Interestingly, there was no difference in attainment at A Level.

Will the curriculum be different for boys and girls?

The same curriculum will be taught to both boys and girls, whether separately or together. In this way we will avoid the risk of subjects becoming gender-labelled. There are no ‘boys-only’ or ‘girls-only’ subjects. When it comes to subject options at GCSE level, we predict there will be no obvious gender trend for subject selection.

What is the academic justification for separate teaching of girls and boys for STEM subjects? (Science, Maths and DT)

A survey commissioned by Microsoft found that girls in the UK become interested in STEM subjects just before the age of 11. This interest, however, drops sharply when they turn 16 and does not recover. Microsoft stated, “…governments, teachers and parents only have four or five years to nurture girls’ passion before they turn their backs on these areas, potentially for good”.

What is the academic justification for separate teaching of girls and boys for Drama and Dance?

For Dance, separate teaching for boys and girls enables the focus to be on different aspects and styles of dance. All-male dance groups tend to display strength, balance and physical competence; contact work and elevation are often a strength. For girls, who tend to have more flexibility, control and sophisticated use of gestural aspects, working in a single-sex environment allows the freedom to work creatively without inhibitions.

In Drama, the positive impact of the single-sex environment allows uninhibited exploration of creative ideas, particularly in years 7 – 8, without the added pressure of ‘performing’ in front of a mixed group. This is true for both Dance and Drama for pupils in early teenage years.

What is the academic justification for separate teaching of girls and boys for English?

Girls outperform boys in English in both primary and secondary schools. At KS2, girls perform better in all areas of English. Nationally, boys often fail to reach the expected level of reading by the age of 11, according to joint research by a Parliamentary Group and the National Literacy Trust . Girls also outperform boys in English Literature and English Language at GCSE. To narrow the gender gap, different texts can be chosen to appeal to different genders. ‘Successful Single Sex Classrooms’ (by Michael Gurian, Katie Stevens and Peggie Daniels) suggested that boys prefer texts which have, “characters they can identify with in terms of what they themselves like to do or hope to become, whereas girls need books…that provide strong female role models…who struggle to establish their place beyond the traditionally established cultural roles and expectations for women”.

What are the benefits of teaching some subjects in a co-education forum?

Research publicised this month in the journal “School Effectiveness and School Improvement”, revealed that boys perform better when they are outnumbered by girls; specifically, where there are at least 60% girls in a class. This conclusion was arrived at by analysing PISA data from 8,000 mixed-gender schools across 33 different OECD countries. The positive academic attributes of girls, such as higher motivation and concentration levels, positively influences boys and does not impact negatively on the attainment of girls.

How are we going to ensure effective teaching for boys and girls?

Our whole school INSET programme for the next 12 months has been planned to ensure that all teachers have access to training which will enable them to deliver excellence in the classrooms, whether to girls, or boys, or to a co-ed class. We will not be placing a particular emphasis on teaching boys as it would be fundamentally wrong to adopt a focus on different teaching styles for girls and for boys as this is not appropriate. Both genders can benefit from many similar teaching strategies and there are variances in teaching style preferences within the same gender.

What are the pastoral benefits of the ‘Diamond Model’?

School is not all about the academic side of school life – the social side of school is equally important. A major part of what any good school should do is to help their pupils form respectful relationships with the opposite sex. For obvious reasons this is more difficult to support in single-sex schools. In Diamond schools, however, although teenage boys and girls are taught separately, because they share the same facilities, they have many opportunities to develop in this way. By rubbing shoulders with each other at break and lunchtime, and participating together in a wide range of extra-curricular activities, they learn to have mutual respect for each other and, first and foremost, to treat each other as human beings.

We recognise that the quality of the pastoral relationships in a school is key. At IHS we have a strong pastoral team who will be able to appreciate the different challenges faced by boys and girls and, therefore, provide consistent support which caters to the needs of each pupil, regardless of gender, in the school.

Why is the Sixth Form co-educational?

By the time students reach the Sixth Form, they have sufficiently matured and established themselves academically. Students can cope with a mixed gender classroom environment and become better prepared for their life at university or in the world of work. ISC data suggests there is no difference in A Level attainment between boys and girls in a co-ed versus a single sex environment.