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Tiny Village Schools......thoughts please

(23 Posts)
tryingtobemarypoppins2 Fri 30-Sep-11 19:12:41

Our catchment school is 1 form entry, very mixed, good results but we could apply for a school about 1 miles away that is Outstanding. It does however have just 3 classes. So R,1,2 all together (10 children in each year so class of 30) 3 and 4 together, then 5&6.

They are less clubs etc at the tiny school, no breakfast club etc but it is so nurturing and in a beautiful setting. They have a school camp each year when all the children camp out etc, all very county!

I was just looking for any experiences of tiny schools. Pros cons, general experiences etc.

Many thanks

VivaLeBeaver Fri 30-Sep-11 19:14:38

DD went to one it was fine. Teachers really knew the kids and small class size in ks2 meant lots of attention.

Kids will play with kids from the year below/above which doesn't happen so much at bigger schools. Though if there is a falling out there are less different groups to go and play with until they've made up.

tryingtobemarypoppins2 Fri 30-Sep-11 19:20:48

I am a bit concerned about moving to a secondary school from there, just thinking how much larger it would be!

exoticfruits Fri 30-Sep-11 19:25:32

I went to one myself and absolutely loved it-however secondary school was a shock and I was at a disadvantage e.g. I wanted to join the choir and the first people allowed to join were those in their primary school choir-we didn't have one. There is a very small choice of friends-can work well but you can get a 'big fish in a small pond' who dominates. Although I loved it I was keen for my own DC to have a big primary with at least 2 form entry.

Talker2010 Fri 30-Sep-11 19:35:48

We have students come o our average size secondary from a very small primary ... usually about 5 or 6 in each year group ... the school is really good at joining in with all the activities we put on for children so they come up fairly regularly from Y4 onwards

The kids seem to fit in ok when they do join us

tryingtobemarypoppins2 Fri 30-Sep-11 19:44:38

And academically??

tryingtobemarypoppins2 Fri 30-Sep-11 19:45:26

I just wonder too about having siblings together?? Could be lovely......

Talker2010 Fri 30-Sep-11 19:55:55

Academically they seem to have done very well at Primary and continue to do so well

VivaLeBeaver Fri 30-Sep-11 19:57:24

I went to a tiny school and my older brother was in the same class as me which I liked. Not sure what he thought.
I think secondary school is a bit of a shock to the system no matter what school you come from but kids soon get used to it.

cantfindamnnickname Fri 30-Sep-11 19:58:39

Mine attend a small village school - and i love it and so do the kids, The 2 little ones are in a mixed R/Y1 class and they look after each other.

exoticfruits Fri 30-Sep-11 20:39:37

DS1 went to a small one for a time-they did get together with other small schools for history days etc which worked well.

JemimaMuddledUp Fri 30-Sep-11 20:45:14

I went to a tiny primary school, only 24 pupils in the whole school! My children go to one which is huge in comparison - around 90 pupils in 4 classes (Reception, 1&2, 3&4 and 5&6).

My children's school has a breakfast club, after school childcare, after school clubs such as craft, choir, football, hockey etc... There is no reason why a small school should mean fewer opportunities.

As for siblings together, DS1 and DS2 are in the same class every other year. It doesn's seem to bother them.

NotADudeExactly Fri 30-Sep-11 20:48:47

I went to a school like that for two years. I was a bright kid and loved it. Being with older children meant that I was able to listen to what they were doing, which actually gave me something to do once I had finished what I was supposed to be working on.

I did find it hard to adjust to a regular one year per class setting afterwards though - especially as I had already heard everything that was being covered and hence took to correcting the teacher.

ElderberrySyrup Fri 30-Sep-11 20:53:07

my dcs are in YR and Y2 at a school like that. They love it, and I really do mean that - they are always talking about how much they love school.

There are plenty of clubs and other opportunities eg dd has just started the flute.

Definitely good for the little ones, not sure how it will pan out when they get older.

LillianGish Fri 30-Sep-11 20:53:52

I think it depends who the other kids are - much more crucial in a small school. My nieces went to the kind of school you describe and the younger one found it particularly tough as there were no other girls her age so she never really had a best friend. Older one - quite overweight - was bullied. I think it can be great if you have a group of children who really gel across the age groups - that is slightly the luck of the draw depending on who enrolls at the same time as your child.

exoticfruits Fri 30-Sep-11 21:04:02

Very true LillianGish. My cousin's DD was the only girl in her year and it is tough, she was friends in the year above but it made yr 6 tricky.

happygardening Fri 30-Sep-11 23:09:54

My DS spent one year at a tiny school 37 in total reception and year one in together only 6 in his year 3 in the other. I found two problems you can't separate children with different abilities on different tables and therefore they tend to teach to lowest level and if one child is badly behaved it dominates disproportionately.

Lotkinsgonecurly Fri 30-Sep-11 23:45:50

My Dc are at a small school around 90 children and they love it. Great for dd just starting reception, and I'm sure secondary school will be challenging for all children, regardless of size of prior school. Friends are limited but age groups do play together more which is lovely. Academically it's really stretching for them, we love it.

teacherwith2kids Sat 01-Oct-11 14:48:26

I think that there is a huge difference between a genuinely 'tiny' school and what you describe, which is a 'small' school.

I have, through school placements, teaching, and through the schools my children have been to, experience of schools with PANs ranging from 5 (total children in school when I was teaching there = 32) to 60+ (total number in school 450).

FWIW, a school of 70 children as you describe is, in my experience, very good for most children. 10 per year is big enough for a veriety of friendships, and 20-30 per class normally gives scope for a good level of differentiation. It can usually raise a football team, netball team etc from the top classes and, again in my experience, can run a variety of completely viable clubs and after school care (the fact this school doesn't run these things is a choice it has made).

A school of 32 (2 classes) was a completely different matter, and was genuinely 'different' from a small school - no sports teams, very few clubs (not viable), only 2 teachers, tricky differentiation.

I have 2 caveats:
1. that first class. A mixed R/1/2 class is a tricky one, as the teacher will be juggling 2 different curriculums (EYFS and KS1). Depending on the teacher, there may be a tension between providing the play-based curriculum appropriate for the Year R chuldren and more formal learning / preparing Y2 children for SATs. The staffing of that class is crucial - a great combination which I have seen work well is a teacher + a nursery nurse-qualified TA with special responsibility for the Year R children.

2. Children at the extremes of ability. In a year group of 10, a child of, say, extremely high ability will have no peer group. In a mixed class, while that child is in the younger year of the class, they will probably work mainly with the year above - but less good teachers can struggle to keep that child moving forwards as fast when they are in the 'older year' of the class. It is for this latter reason that when we moved from village to town I found a school with a PAN of 60 for my DS - in his old school (PAN of 20) he was very isolated as an able child, in his new one he had 3 or 4 near peers, just by virue of statistical probability.

SecretSquirrels Sat 01-Oct-11 18:41:14

My children went to one exactly as you describe. Class sizes averaged 15 to 20. It worked for them and transition to secondary was far easier than I anticipated.
Academically they both did well. My one reservation was that DS1 at the upper end of ability was always stretched nicely in alternate years and bored in alternate years. In other words when in year 3 he did the Y4 work and in Y5 he did the Y6 stuff. And then stood still for a year.
Having said that I'm not convinced he would have done any better in a class of 30 even if they were the same age group.
Given the choice again between the larger primary in one village and the small one we chose I'd make the same choice.

abittoofat Sat 01-Oct-11 20:58:24

Bigger school = bigger options and bigger choice of experiences.

Depends what you want for your dc.

I sent mine to village school with mixed classes, and have since removed eldest. Will probably change dd in a couple of years too.

Wish I'd chosedn a bigger school to start with tbh.

UniS Sat 01-Oct-11 22:57:41

Lots of tiny primary school round here, the local secondary have vertical ( mixed year) tutor groups so a child will be in a tutor group for registration with someone else from same primary tho not necessarily from same year.

Do you NEED a breakfast club and after school clubs. If you do, go for the larger school.

Is it really 1 mile away? But not your designated area school?

scotgirl Sat 01-Oct-11 23:06:24

My friends kids go to a 2 class school. It is good and she is happy though I wouldn't say they are academically better or worse than other kids. One negative is that the younger kids get exposed to older kids thinking and behaviour from a much earlier age - e.g. they are going on about tv show, computer games etc. that are not suitable at all for the younger ones.

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