Nelson College Headmaster Gary O’Shea dons his black gown and walks on stage to address a sea of students. 1,100 curious faces stare back at him, from fresh-faced new entrants to seniors sprouting stubble. He starts to speak about strength, love, honour and mateship – what it means to be a man.

“There is this oasis of single sex calm,” he says. “Those personal conversations you can have support them at a really fragile time in their lives. I see strength in that.”

Fewer than 2.5 percent of New Zealand’s schools are boys’ only. But Mr O’Shea believes their students have a significant advantage. A newly-released report, commissioned by the Association of Boys’ Schools of New Zealand, backs him up. click to read more