A school responding to its cultural setting

Andrew Howes, I Kaplan

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This article examines the journey of a secondary school in its attempts to be more responsive to community values. The school had worked hard for many years to gain the trust of the Asian-heritage population, and, after much debate and consultation, it was agreed to teach boys and girls separately in the first three years. The article examines the way in which existing research on single-sex schooling was used in support of this change, and focuses on an evaluation of the change that involved teachers and parents. It highlights some unexpected and contradictory responses of parents, and the dangers of a stereotyped understanding of identity and religion among teachers and school leaders. The authors advocate a boldness of vision in imagining possible changes and responding proactively to a cultural context, but also that major changes should first be piloted on a smaller scale in order to evaluate the experience and the responses of different groups of parents, even within a seemingly cohesive community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-48
JournalImproving Schools
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Asian; community; evaluation; gender; parents; single-sex classes


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