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Help with school choice!

(8 Posts)
Sarahr22 Mon 22-Oct-12 20:53:00

Hi I am currently looking to move house and with a young toddler schools are an issue. We have seen 2 houses....very close together but one is in a rural area with a primary school with about 150 pupils. Other is in catchment for a primary with about 600 pupils!!! Both decent areas and decent schools but can't decide whether big or small school is better for a child?? Help please. Jut in case anyone is local the 2 schools are Hagley and Blakedown

HanSolo Mon 22-Oct-12 21:00:01

You might get some local knowledge on these schools if you post in MN local...
The only real way to know is to go and look round each of them. Personally I prefer smaller schools, but not everyone does!

eatyourveg Mon 22-Oct-12 21:21:15

look at where they feed into for secondary - that may influence your decision

Sarahr22 Tue 23-Oct-12 06:45:17

Thanks v much. They both feed into the same secondary school.

mummytime Tue 23-Oct-12 07:01:02

Look at both schools. What is the "atmosphere" like? What resources do they have (you might not need SEN resources but its nice to know they are there)? Do they have mixed year classes? Are either of the heads likely to leave soon? Ask about trips and outdoor education, and sport.

lljkk Tue 23-Oct-12 07:38:57

I think that in the world of school size definitions, 150 is not small. It's considered medium. Have to drop below 100 to earn a "small" label (more here).

Mind, 600 is HUGE.

My prejudice is to strongly prefer larger schools. More chance to find like-minded & similar ability peers. More money sloshing around for bits and pieces. More teachers to choose from if you don't like the usual teacher who teaches yr3-4 together, often for 2 years on the trot. Easier to ensure they're in a class away from any peers they dislike. More clubs, more sport. More likely to have good wrap-around care. More money to support a SEN pastoral person. More chances to buy 2nd hand uniform. More experience with SEN.

If you can't decide which school you like better then decide which house you like better.

iseenodust Tue 23-Oct-12 09:53:41

I am in stitches at the idea you get to choose which year 3/4 teacher. Experience tells me you may not be able to move your child from a bully (or even move them both into a class with more boys to dilute) if the Head has her head in the sand. Having moved DS from a larger school to one of 170 pupils, I would avoid a 600 primary with a barge pole. The smaller school has a choice of 2 after school clubs, the larger school only had one. The pastoral and discipline is heaps better. Music provision is better. Marginally fewer sports clubs. People come from the nearby town because it is known for outstanding SEN provision. DS is bright and they differentiate as necessary. The head is out in the playground every morning - available to parents and kids. Both schools were last rated as outstanding by OFSTED.

I would meet the Heads of both and question closely about pastoral care. I sent a confident boy into the larger school and it took many months to undo the damage done.

mummytime Tue 23-Oct-12 10:04:59

Ny DCs have all been at a big school, about 550, and yes I have been able to ask the head not to put my child with certain teachers. In one case we actually discussed who to put one of my children with (it was tricky). They have been very willing to separate children, and shuffle classes every year. It also has after school care plus a huge range of after/before and during school clubs (at least 15 different activities per week).

BUT the crucial things are the school philosophy (DCs school is also excellent at SEN) and the Head. However it is also a personal choice, I have friends who have chosen another local school which I just didn't like, its fine but I just didn't like the ethos.

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