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Half the world will do nicely

As the head of an all-girls' independent school in West Sussex I cannot allow Hilary Wilce's back-page column (TES, September 15) to pass without an indignant response. Hilary must be living in a different world to the one I inhabit if she thinks that girls who go to all-girls' schools grow up thinking that half the world (I presume she means the male half) are "aliens". Far from it. The word alien infers repugnant, separate and extraneous - hardly terms one would use for the relationships normal healthy teenagers have with the opposite sex!

As for "shielding themselves from nasty, rude, distracting boys in order to make something of their lives", well here she may have a point. To quote her own words in the article, "even the gentlest of boys push, shove, shout and barge ahead; seem oblivious to anything around them and tie up the majority of any teacher's attention."

Given a choice between a relatively peaceful environment where one can achieve one's potential to the full, without too much distraction from immature youths and the type of co-ed situation Hilary describes, and knowing that aliens are always around in the evenings and at weekends, the majority of intelligent young women and their parents, if they have a choice at all, will opt for a single-sex school every time.

ROSEMARY LEWIS

Headteacher

Burgess Hill School

Burgess Hill, West Sussex

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