In today’s dynamic and ever-changing world, it is a real privilege to be preparing young women for the future, and here at the International School of the Sacred Heart we aim to support our girls to aim high to achieve their full potential. A Sacred Heart graduate understands her abilities and power, and knows how to use her talents and strengths to contribute positively to society.

If you are wondering whether single sex education is for your daughter, you may wish to consider the positive impact that Sacred Heart schools have had educating girls the world over, for over 200 years. As the oldest all girl international school in Japan, we have served as advocates for girls’ education since 1908, because we have experienced first-hand the power of such a transformative learning environment on girls from diverse backgrounds. In my time as high school principal I have seen how each girl learns to find her own voice, develops her own interests and becomes confident to make decisions that are right for her. Girls’ schools specialize in girls: we tailor every aspect of teaching and learning to girls, purposely developing their confidence and potential, and empower them to pursue whichever direction their talents lead them. 

Girls are powerful role models for one another; this is something that is noticeable at our school every day. Younger Sacred Heart students look up to older students and when they see older girls being loving and kind leaders on the sports field and in the classroom, they grow up believing they can do it too. The 2023 UNDP Gender Social Norms Index shows that men and women continue to have deeply held biases against women. That makes it even more important for girls to grow up in an environment where they develop the self-confidence to fight biases that hold society back from developing to its full potential.

The building of a sense of community is integral to a Sacred Heart education (Goal 4). The power of school belonging will come as no surprise considering analysis of 2018 PISA data showed students at all-girls schools reported a far greater sense of well-being and stronger feelings of belonging at their school than girls from co-ed schools (AGSA & MMG, 2018). Students feel a sense of school belonging when they feel accepted, safe, and comfortable at school. Especially when they feel “personally accepted, respected, included, and supported by teachers and other adults in the school social environment” (Goodenow & Grady, 1993). A strong sense of community at school is protective against mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation, loneliness, disengagement from study, and addiction to social media and gaming. School belonging builds self-efficacy, improves health and mental well-being and increases academic performance. 

The 2020 AGSA report The Girls’ School Edge: A comparison of outcomes for girls from single-sex and co-educational schools using PISA data from 2015 and 2018, provides strong support for the value of an all-girls schooling environment and adds to the growing body of international research that shows unequivocally that girls’ schools provide distinct advantages over co-educational schools. Girls at single-sex schools are also less likely to have to wait for their teacher to quiet the class before teaching (33% to 22%). Studies show that girls grow up having to frequently deal with sexual harassment both online and in real life, also while at school. In a single sex educational environment such issues are dealt with openly, and girls are provided with a safe space committed to educating and empowering them to speak up about gender justice.

Our well-rounded high school program prepares each girl to attend the university of her choice and we take great pride in a 100% university acceptance every year. The highly academic and supportive college-program excites, challenges and stimulates each girl to become a critical thinker who is unafraid to question the status quo. Our teachers encourage curiosity and finding joy in learning for its own sake, and make themselves available to provide one on one time to ensure each girl is supported to achieve her full potential. The Advanced Placement program is well-suited to the needs of our girls, as it offers the flexibility to tailor the curriculum to the student, not the other way around.

Our school has had a global outlook long before ‘global citizenship’ became a trend in education. Established in France in 1800, brave sisters from the Society of the Sacred Heart ventured to North America and further around the world. Therefore, International Mindedness is something our school does really well. Through both the curricular and extracurricular programs, students develop ways of thinking and acting based on a belief that we can make our interdependent world a better place. In accordance with our third Sacred Heart goal, “With a global perspective, our school develops internationally minded citizens with critical consciousness, language facility, intercultural literacy and the will and confidence to act for the common good throughout their lives.”

Outside of the classroom we offer a robust range of extra-curricular activities – do browse our website to see Sacred Heart girls enthusiastically leading activities and events, singing in the choir, pushing themselves on the sports field– the possibilities are endless.

With absolute confidence, I can say that Sacred Heart is a place where girls thrive. I am constantly impressed and delighted by the loving kindness and achievements of our girls. It is a joy to welcome our alumnae back to Sacred Heart when they return to visit. 

If you wish your daughter to be a feisty, resilient and confident woman in the future, come and visit the school to see for yourself.

Charmaine Young
High School Principal