Independent Schools Show - Which school to choose: co-ed or single sex?



The relative merits of co-educational and single-sex schools is one of the most debated subjects in education. More and more boys’ schools are dropping their single-sex status and bringing in girls at sixth form, or all the way through. But does single-sex education really benefit girls more than boys? Our experts will guide you through the key issues to help you decide what’s best for your child. 


Gareth Doodes

Gareth Doodes, Dover College Headmaster

Attended Eastbourne College, where he boarded in the Sixth Form, then read modern history at St Andrews and did a PGCE at Cambridge. Taught history at Taunton School, followed by a stint as a Housemaster at Oakham. Joined Milton Abbey School as Deputy Head, but after six months (and aged only 32) was offered the top job, a role he filled for 5 years. Then briefly Principal at George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh, but realised he preferred being back in Blighty and accepted the Headship at Dover College, whose Governors fell on his neck with cries of joy after what had been a challenging few years. Married to Jess, who works in the school’s marketing department. They have a young son and daughter, both at the School.

One of the first things Gareth did was to move the Head’s Study from its former remote location at the top of a boarding house to a lovely light ground floor room at the heart of the School where he is much more visible and in touch. ‘Whenever you walk past his office he ALWAYS waves!’ say students affectionately. A fabulously energetic man, however, who is just as likely to be out and about teaching the Year 6s, taking A Level history – ‘it’s so important to get into the classrooms!’ – leading assembly and fully involving himself in school life as a Head should. ‘Constructive and friendly,’ was an opinion echoed by everyone we spoke to, and parents enthusiastically praised his vision for the school and the staff appointments made to date. Recent ISI reports reflect solid and rapid improvements on all fronts.

A former choral scholar and still a keen musician, playing organ, piano and violin. Other interests include cycling and running and is a self-confessed ‘current affairs and politics junkie.

Samantha Price

Samantha Price, Headmistress, Benenden School

Samantha Price was educated at Malvern Girls’ College and Edinburgh University, where she read History of Art (with modules of European History).  Having graduated, she joined the Tate Britain and was responsible for marketing for Members and Patrons and became heavily involved with the Patrons of what is now the Tate Modern.

She started her teaching career in 1999 as a History of Art and History teacher at Reading Blue Coat School, where she stayed for a number of years.  She then joined King’s Canterbury as a Housemistress, History and History of Art teacher.  Her next post was to be Deputy Head at Hereford Cathedral School and from there she became Head of Godolphin in 2010.

Samantha is married with a daughter and a son. Her husband is an Army Chaplain. 

Samantha joined Benenden as the Headmistress in January 2014 and she currently chairs the HMC Wellbeing Committee and the GSA Boarding Committee.

Hear from the sector’s brightest thinkers in our two 200-seat theatres, discussing the trends and choices that will affect your child’s future.
In 2018 there will be two theatres running concurrently:  The Sunday Times Education Theatre,   The London Parents Forum. 

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