Teachers advice on choosing between two schools?

(11 Posts)
educator123 Tue 12-Feb-13 20:59:19

I'm torn between a small school with class sizes of 14-18 mixed with two year groups to a class.

I know they are mixed classes but I know small classes can have positive effects.

Or a one form form entry school with classes of 25 (30 in years 5&6)

theindecisive Tue 12-Feb-13 22:51:27

I would look at everything else as well. Small class sizes are good, but mixed year groups in the same class may counter that.
What else does the school have to offer? Extra curricular activities? School trips? Breadth of curriculum?
How would you get to school?
What are other parents views of the schools? How does OFSTED rate them? What is the pastoral care like for children there?
Have you been to visit them both? What was your gut feeling?

educator123 Wed 13-Feb-13 09:26:47

The small one -
On big Grounds

School trips - yearly trip, plus panto at xmas and a week trip somewhere.

Extra curricular - drama club, sports club.

Breadth of curriculum - weekly swimming, forest schools, welly walks, daily fun run for a period of weeks every yr etc

Views - Good reputation, OFSTED - Good with outstanding features, inspector saying what a fab school it was, happy for his children to attend etc

Morals and attitute to one another is good, older ones really look out for the younger etc
5min walk

Larger single form entry-
Again big grounds

School trip - not sure but i would imagine they do have them.

Extra curricular - club every lunch time and after school.

Curriculum - seems good and varied one afternoon is free for the children to choose an activity

Views - general opinion is high, OFSTED consistantly outstanding for several years.

10min drive, plus parking etc

My feelings - the larger one is prob a better all rounder as no mixed classes, very good reputation, popular head, lots of extra activities which would interest (from what i can tell atm) at least two of my four dcs. It is federated with another school, so the head does a 50/50 split, although deputy has a good rep too and talking of becoming an academy.

The smaller one always has a really lovely home from home family feel, and considering the numbers are very low i think it does quite well in terms of extras eg in an average week they could do a couple of clubs and would go swimming, but there are restiction due to size on things like team sport etc, children seem to progress well (from what ive heard)!

Can you see why its a tough choice!?!?

theindecisive Wed 13-Feb-13 20:37:08

You are very lucky to have such a good choice. Do you have an equally realistic chance of getting into either?
I would generally say go for the nearest walkable one if they are OK, and the one you mention sounds great. I think that would be my preference. I think it is invaluable to be able to walk to school, there is so much less stress, you can talk more, your children can fully wake up before getting to school, plus all the benefits of exercise plus it will save you a fortune in petrol.

educator123 Wed 13-Feb-13 21:18:17

Thank you, we are in at the closest one and have been offered places at the other (the last two then they are at full capacity)...its really tempting me as i know i am very lucky to get the places and it feels a safe option in the sense of suiting all of my children long term (something for everyone being a bit bigger) and no worry of mixed classes BUT we love walking and i would feel bad not supporting the school within the community, but i want to try and push this aside. Children are being moved from the local prep school to the bigger school, it has a very good reputation. But im sure you can see my difficulty in deciding!

socharlottet Wed 13-Feb-13 22:35:47

small school.

educator123 Thu 14-Feb-13 20:42:43

Socharlotte...just wondered why? Not in an offensive way just curious.

GingerbreadGretel Thu 14-Feb-13 22:18:41

The small one sounds lovely, and for me your perceived benefits of the larger one do not outweigh the benefits of being local, having wellie walks, etc.

educator123 Fri 15-Feb-13 08:40:56

Should prob add that the regular wellies walks and forest school fizzle off after year1 ...maybe due to curriculam criteria!?

They do still walk to the church etc for various things.

The larger school have a free afternoon for the whole school where they can choose anything they would like to do, from photography - forest school - cooking. Which I thought was a great idea.

educator123 Fri 15-Feb-13 08:42:53

Posted too soon.
No doubt the bigger one has a fab curriculum due to the heads drives and good teachers and TAs throughout.

But to gain all of that I would loose all the other positives of being at the smaller school.

socharlottet Fri 15-Feb-13 12:35:53

I would pick the smaller one.My DD is in a school of just under 50.There are only 14 in her Y3/Y4 class and have TA support most if not all mornings.
The advantages in class are obvious- they read every day, the teacher knows where they all are and can plan work very specific to the needs and interests of each child and can be 'on' them more to keep them on track!.
Every child has the chance to shine at something in the school. Everyone is best at something, magic tricks playing trumpet,chess, football, gymnastics , singing and because the teachers know the children o well they can find this thing.I think this is a great great confidence booster for kids.
Also there is none of this picking children to read in church or for a part in teh play, or for the hockey team .or swimming gala.Everybody takes part in everything. If it's like here, there are small schools clusters to arrange inter school tennis, hockey, football, swimming ,cricket, gymnastics, cross country, pancake races.

School trips and activities -a lot easier to arrange for a small group tha a large group.Trips are often in parents cars (with your permission) which means they can do loads of stuff without paying for transport.

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