An independent girls’ school will allow boys to attend from the beginning of next year.

St Margaret’s in Bushey says it has made a decision to become co-educational and will begin its transition from a single school in January 2020.

Since 1812, St Margaret’s has only welcomed girls but headmistress Rose Hardy says it is time to mix boys and girls together in classes because it “reflects the reality and diversity” of our society today.

By 2022, the boarding school is expected to be fully co-educational across all year groups.

Judith Fenn, chairman of the governing body at St Margaret’s School, said: “Co-education provides daily opportunities for nurturing mutual respect and understanding between genders as they learn together and socialise respectfully, co-operatively and collaboratively.

“We are looking forward to bolstering our already proven track record of academic success in public examinations and to supporting girls and boys as they move onto competitive courses at leading universities both here in the UK and globally.”

Headmistress, Rose Hardy added: “The world is co-educational and mixing boys and girls together in the classroom simply reflects the reality and the diversity of our society today. St Margaret’s has always encouraged a spirit of diversity at its core and now is the ideal time to integrate both genders into the fold so it’s a natural progression.”