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New Scotch head sparks co-ed debate

Written on the 28 October 2014 by scotch

Scotch College principal designate Dr John Newton, with students Lizzie Treloar and David Spencer, believes single sex schools hinder careers.New Scotch College principal Dr John Newton says single sex education can hinder students’ careers for decades and was partly to blame for the global financial crisis.

Dr Newton has reignited the single sex versus coeducation debate, saying he cannot understand why any parent would prevent their child interacting with and learning from the opposite sex.

Dr Newton said graduates of single sex schools carried an emotional handicap that could last 20 years.

“I just don’t understand why (parents) want to send their children to schools where they miss out on that vital piece of emotional intelligence, how to work with the opposite sex,” he said.

Dr Newton said the global economic meltdown was “an example of what single sex education does to you - men thinking like men” in the international banking system who had never learned to listen to or work with women.

“And girls need that confidence to take on boys and work with them. They need to feel the competitive edge.”

Despite both he and his wife being products of single sex schooling, he said they “would not dream” of it for their four children because co-operating with the opposite sex was a vital skill in the modern workplace.

The principal of co-ed Taunton School in Britain for a decade, Dr Newton has made a brief trip to Adelaide this week before he formally begins at Scotch in January. He will replace Tim Oughton, who will be returning to his native New Zealand after seven years at the prestigious Torrens Park school, which this year charged $23,080 for Year 12 fees.

Dr Newton, 50, wanted Scotch to attract more international students, gave qualified support for NAPLAN testing, and said all primary school students should be learning the basics of computer programming.

Dr Newton studied French and Russian at Oxford and completed a doctorate on the organisational culture of independent schools.

He said coming to Adelaide was “a professional move, not a lifestyle thing”.

Article by Tim Williams. Originally appeared in The Adelaide Advertiser, 28 October 2014. Photo by Mark Brake.


Author: scotch

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