A recent analysis of GCSE results shows that girls are more likely to get better exam grades and stay in education at single-sex schools according to this report. In particular, girls who are struggling when they start secondary school make the most progress in all-girls schools. Whether that's down to girls working harder because they're not distracted by boys, or the fact that the type of parents who seek out single-sex education are more likely to be supportive is open to debate.
I go into schools regularly to do sixth form conferences and I've noticed that consistently girls in mixed schools are much less likely to speak in public; it's always the boys who volunteer. It's not that the girls have nothing to say, but they seem to lack the confidence to say it in front of others. Doing the same conferences at an all-girls school recently I was reminded how articulate, intelligent and confident teenage girls can be, and I'm frustrated that mixed schools don't seem to address the issues that silence the girls. I went to an all-girls school where I did ok academically, but feel I missed out on growing up alongside boys. (Having three sisters didn't help!) What can mixed schools do differently to create environments where girls can thrive to the same extent that they do at all-girls schools?