To send my extroverted DC to a tiny village school?(147 Posts)
I'm thinking of moving rurally.
We currently live in central London and eldest DC goes to a 2 form entry school with classes of nearly 30 (school is undersubscribed). She is an extrovert and very social and active.
We are thinking of moving very rurally, where the entire school will have less pupils than in her year. There will be small (circa 10-15 pupils) composite classes.
To me this sounds great to have such small class sizes, but I'm not sure how she will find the change, and the social side. I also wonder what the reality of such a small school is.
Is this an entirely nutty idea?
Unpredictable. 10-15 children is still plenty for an extrovert, but it will depend a lot on whether they are children who will want to be social and active with her. There's a lot less choice, so she might be lucky and find a great group of friends, but she might end up in a class full of bookworms.
Setting aside the class sizes what is the school like generally?
Personally, I would avoid composite classes like the plague.
I would also have hated a school where everybody knew who I was.
It doesn't sound like a good fit for your dc to be honest, what are your reasons for wanting to move so rurally?
Could you not compromise by finding a small town, as opposed to a village, with normal sized schools but is still surrounded by countryside?
My children have attended 2 village schools, one bigger than the other.
Small year groups sound wonderful but my ds1 really struggled in the smaller school as he didn't fit in with the other boys in his year. Ds2 had a much better experience.
I don't regret that they went to small village schools - the positives outweighed the negatives - but it isn't as rosy as it might seem.
If you are moving rurally for other reasons then it is what it is and she will find her way one way or another. If you are moving just for smaller classes it isn't always as fantastic as it may seem.
I don’t know - we did a similar move with a similar sort of DC and o actively avoided very small schools with composite classes as I worried DC2 might end up in class with DC1. So we chose a single-form entry and it’s still more cliquey than the city equivalent. Consider also after-school activities- in a rural place everyone does the same classes as less to choose from, so it can get a bit claustrophobic.
So I wouldn’t personally- but if you love the school then I’m sure there are great benefits to smaller classes and a sense of community.
Socially gregarious children tend to fit in everywhere. The benefits of a rural childhood with incredible wildlife, nature and freedom will far outweigh the class size.
We moved from London to Gloucestershire and have never looked back
Dc have loved and thrives on outdoors life. You are focused too much on just one dimension.
The biggest adjustment might be one you need to make
Not sure what it's like these days but I went to a tiny primary school (2 classes - one for 5-8 yrs and one for 9-11 yrs). However, I'd never been to a bigger school. As an introvert, I loved it. I don't remember the extroverts having difficulties though.
Positives - friends of multiple ages, learning to work alone if the teachers are teaching another age-group, more individual attention, no ability to hide.
Negatives - can be claustrophobic, more difficult to avoid friends that you've fallen out with etc.
By composite do you mean mixed ages? My DD is at a school like this, it has it's pro's and con's but I wouldn't say it's terrible by any means. DD is still quite high achieving.
She's also quite introverted and this probably has been more of an issue in a small school, as there are fewer children she really gets on with.
Your child's social circle should be more than just school though, what are the opportunities for other groups/activities like in the area?
I think small school and class sizes are great for primary, but it can be a total disaster for secondary, especially moving in as a new student. My 13 yo really struggled when we moved her to a small school with a class size of 12, (serious bullying though), despite the small class size her academics really suffered because of the social issues. We ended up moving her to a larger school and she is much happier and doing good again academically.
How old is she? I moved to the country from a large town when I was a teenager and hated it to be brutally honest. It was pretty but very boring. My mates were all in town, I'd come to the new school halfway through the year and struggled to make friends. The public transport was dire. There was nothing to do but drunk cider I'm the park with the young farmers. As a reaction, I moved to London ASAP and love it. Think carefully.
I loved being involved in a school where everyone had some idea who everyone was, and ime the school could be more flexible and responsive to children's needs.
I think it was fantastic for DC when young, say R - yr 4/5. And multiage classes gives a chance to find their own level. Yr 5&6, probably not rigourous enough, and not great preparation for High School. Although that was not true of another local school.
The influence of any one teacher is greater, and DC may have them for longer. So if there's a not so good teacher, or one who does not have a productive relationship with your DC, you may have to move them.
Ime, the big drawback is friendship groups.They play more across year groups, which I think is great, but it's all more intense. Fall out with two friends, and you may feel a bit isolated.
Did fine for 2 of mine, had to move the other one.
Dd is 7
We are moving to get away from rough inner city London, better schools, better quality of life etc.
There are houses nearer bigger schools.
I'm wondering is such a small school is a plus or a minus.
Another relevent point is that dd is academically very able. I wonder if composite classes (mixed year groups) would allow her to work with older children on more advanced work.
I teach in a very large state secondary school, but we are in a rural area - my school is literally surrounded by fields! My concerns would be as others have raised that small schools are not great preparation for secondary school. They are wonderful for Reception and KS1, but staying in a tiny school with composite classes until Y6 would mean a really tricky transition to Y7. Some of our feeder schools have 50 pupils (rec - Y6) and we have 250+ pupils in each year group plus an enormous 6th form. That’s a huge shock for an 11 year old!
I have two extrovert DCs at a tiny school - it is brilliant. They are friends with everybody, and it is fantastic life experience and such a lovely approach.
Maxwell thank you for raising that.
The secondary that she would go onto would have 4 classes per year. Eldest copes well with lots of people (in fact relishes it) so I'm not too worried about her.
Her younger siblings may be different though.
I am a governor at a similar tiny rural school and I have to say it is a little gem - if I had had the chance to send my own children to such a school when they were little I would have jumped at it. The sense of "family" and also of being part of the community is very strong and a great asset to small children. The mixed-year classes are managed with TAs and the children get a lot of personal attention and support. The children are characterised by their self-confidence and social skills.
All the evidence from our little school is that the children settle fine at secondary school.
Composite classes are good for bright children: they can just move up to another table. And the teacher is used to DC working across many levels. Small classes also great.
One of mine flourished up till Yr5 : then academically not so great. Plus their social and academic peer group was older, and had largely moved on. So they moved to a larger primary in the town.
i went to a small school with composite classes of about 20, and it was great. I was a bit of an anomaly as i was very sociable and almost hyperactive, but at the same time quite nervous. I don't think I would've coped in a bigger school.
You never know, it might be great for her!
I went to a tiny primary - six children in my year, and two age groups in one class. Then went to a large secondary. Had no issues whatsoever and was really excited about going. Settled in no problem. Loved my primary though. Would recommend small primary to anyone.
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