Which primary school for DD?

(24 Posts)
pombal Thu 03-Apr-14 17:59:10

I have the choice of 2 good primary schools for DD in September and can't decide.
She'll be going into Y1

We live abroad and one is an English speaking international school and the other a local school but both very good.

Here are the pros and cons:

School 1 - local school, 30 minutes drive each way, biggish class 24 children, but DD would learn local language. Not quite as 'academic' as other school but more rounded curriculum - music, drama etc.

School 2 - English school, 5 minutes drive, small classes - under 10 in each year so lots of individual attention but there will only be 2 other girls in her class next year.
Facilities not as good for music, sport etc.
DD will need to go to additional lessons after school to learn local language.

WWYD???
Any opinions welcome, cos I keep changing my mind !!!

tiggytape Thu 03-Apr-14 22:25:15

I'd go for School 1 based mainly on the composition of the classes in the other school.
Being one of only 3 girls can be a funny mix at the best of times let alone if she is not entirely fluent in the local language early on. Extra lessons after school also sound too tiring for Year 1.

Hassled Thu 03-Apr-14 22:29:26

School 1 on the basis of the class sizes. I don't see a class of 10 as an advantage when it comes to developing social skills etc - and at Year 1 it's really important that those skills do develop. And if those 2 other girls are already best friends then things will be quite hard for your DD.

Hawkshaw Thu 03-Apr-14 22:34:32

Definitely School 1. Learning another language at this age is invaluable. The class size is perfect - 10 is way too small.

Hawkshaw Thu 03-Apr-14 22:36:05

Also, unless you are a native speaker of the local language, it will be tons easier for you to top up academic stuff than language acquisition.

pombal Thu 03-Apr-14 22:39:15

Thanks for your replies, when I was typing out my post the l felt the same way.

School 2 does achieve fantastic results, and the children work above their age/ grade, but how important/relevant is this to success at senior level?
I would be interested in hearing any opinions.

LifeIsBetterInFlipFlops Thu 03-Apr-14 22:51:09

Option 2 - the journey time is much, much better, you'll be driving for two hours a day with the other one.

Class size of 10 is amazing, I'd grab a y chance of that.

Menolly Thu 03-Apr-14 22:59:34

school 2, based on the travel time and that I think it would be easier for her to learn subjects in English and have lessons in another language rather than trying to learn everything in a new language where she may miss bits of explanations through not understanding the language. Also I like small classes and would rather get more 1 to 1 education and work on social skills with large groups through clubs.

Barbaralovesroger Fri 04-Apr-14 06:31:54

Theses no way I'd drive 2 hours a day to get my child to school. What's the transport like?

Barbaralovesroger Fri 04-Apr-14 06:35:40

I'd go for local and then add language lessons

pombal Fri 04-Apr-14 07:45:10

Barbara - the travel time is majorly off putting, but then in then at school 2, I will have to pick up, drop off and then pick up again for the afternoon language school.

As I said both have pros and cons and both are good, but neither tick all the boxes IYSWIM

tiggytape Fri 04-Apr-14 08:16:10

If you go more local though, will you have school runs to do in the evening for the language tutor or will the tutor come to you?

If you have to drive them to a tuition centre every night then the hour you save in the daytime might be lost anyway.

My assumption would be that a child would learn a language more quickly being immersed in it rather than just attending tuition so that seems a major benefit if you intend to stay put for a while and the child will need to be fluent. If you are moving again in a year or so perhaps it isn't such a big deal to become fluent quickly.

Small clas sizes are great but a class of 10 is (I think) far too small especially with just 2 girls. It means very few choices of who to play with and the potential to be the one who is left out. There was a thread a while ago and around 20 was considered the ideal class size for social and educational reasons.

pombal Fri 04-Apr-14 09:10:01

DD does already understand and speak some of the local lingo as she is at a bilingual pre school but isn't fluent.

We will be staying here so fluency is essential.

DH is worried about School 1 as DD is very shy, not confident and he thinks she will be lost in a busy classroom where she doesn't speak the language fluently.

She's the kind of child who is no trouble, sits at the back and could easily be 'forgotten' for want of a better word.

Thanks for all the comments so far.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Fri 04-Apr-14 09:17:51

What's the local language. Is it widely spoken in the word or just with a few speakers?

AuntieStella Fri 04-Apr-14 09:22:06

School 1, unless the 30 minutes is an absolute notorious journey for hold ups and difficulties. But do not under-estimate how fed up you'll get of the journey.

She could always move to the British school later on (I bet they take newly arrived expats all the time, so transferring in shouldn't be difficult).

pombal Fri 04-Apr-14 11:10:21

Local language is not obscure, it would be useful.

The journey to school 1 is a major PITA but the school provide a bus, I wouldn't put DD on the bus in Y1 but it would be a option in the future.

Also English school is only for primary, we would have to transfer to local school for secondary or to English secondary school which is 50 km away, but also has bus service.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Fri 04-Apr-14 11:44:25

I'm on the fence for this as the opportunity to become fluent in your language is an excellent one. Ultimately I don't think a 30 min commute each way is a good idea so I'd opt for the English school in your shoes.

Mutley77 Fri 04-Apr-14 12:17:37

I would go for option one without a doubt. If your DD is academically inclined she will do well anyway (and if she's not then why push her?) and, with school 2 if all the children are working above their age/grade they will probably be pushing them quite hard academically which IMO is a bit pointless (and no fun for the children).

I think the main advantages are
1) Bigger class (ten too small esp with only 2 other girls)
2) No language classes after school - can do any other activity she wants in that time.
3) Other activities, eg music and drama within school.

The main thing for me with a 30 min commute would be whether or not she can easily engage in the school community and have "playdates" easily, etc. Or if not, does she have plenty of local friends? My kids get on well with each other but I've always encouraged lots of outside friendships and I think it benefits them. However with a small class and only 2 other girls - the nearer school may not solve this problem anyway!

pombal Fri 04-Apr-14 18:48:05

She has lots of friends locally from pre school so no problems with play dates etc.

Thank you to all who have replied, DH and I are going to make a final decision tonight as we have to let school 1 know by Monday .

I will be glad when we're signed up somewhere, I can't believe how much thought we've put into it.

I thought it got easier when they were out of nappies!!

dannydyerismydad Fri 04-Apr-14 19:05:07

I know she's only tiny, but think about your plans for secondary. I went to a school that sounds similar to school 2. I loved it. Formed very close friendship groups and thrived.

Lessons were full of differentiation and tailored to each child. Then I went to secondary and totally struggled.

For this reason I don't want DS to be in a small primary.

Meita Sat 05-Apr-14 14:40:28

Hi, just to add a point regarding class sizes. People here have been saying 24 is an ideal size, but they may have been assuming that things would be like they are in England, where you would have one teacher AND one TA in the classroom, at most, if not all times; sometimes even two TAs. Whereas where you are, there might only ever be one adult in the classroom. One adult to 24 children IS rather a lot of work and chances are that individual needs of individual children are routinely overlooked.
Just keep in mind that when comparing class sizes, you need to take into account how many teachers, or other adults, would be in the class.

Here in England, a class of 24 does seem quite an ideal size. Where I grew up, 24 was the absolutely top maximum allowed, no one would have dreamt of calling it an ideal size, usually classes would have been split into two as soon as they were over 20.

Also bear in mind that children can play and be friends with children of the opposite sex too.

That said, I would go for immersion into language, or for shorter distance. To me personally, everything else pales (in importance) in comparison. The only problem being that those two factors fall on different sides of the fence!

cafecito Sat 05-Apr-14 15:01:50

I would go for school 2 - smaller class sizes, more academic, more focused - she will learn the local language from her surroundings and extracurricular classes. This kind of school in the UK would be highly sought after. The commute also wins hands down.

cafecito Sat 05-Apr-14 15:03:16

and the drama etc can be extracurricular too if she wants and would be a good source of extra peer interaction. The academic rigour and closeness to home of school 2 makes so much more sense

pombal Sat 05-Apr-14 17:08:33

Meita - you are right the ratio is one teacher to 24, possibly 25. There are no TAs.

DH has done some research on the net which shows that the education system is one of the worst in the world shock

With this in mind we're opting for school 2.
I would still probably choose the local school for primary to get the language immersion, but he won't consider it.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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