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Big or small school for child with issues?

(2 Posts)
Betty5313 Fri 26-Oct-12 12:22:17

Struggling a bit with choice of schools for dd! She suffers from glue ear so finds lots of loud noise and boisterousness very distressing. It means she just withdraws into herself. Signs so far are that she is very bright but of course that can change.

Only one primary school in our catchment area: 500 pupils, class sizes of 30 in reception and we are warned likely to be 40 in juniors. Couldn't hear ourselves think in reception when we looked around! Also there are known problems with bullying and the head brushed it under the carpet when we spoke to him.

We have a chance of getting into the primary in the next village, less than 50 children so only two mixed age classes.

Also we can just about afford an independent faith school but might be too late to get a place. (Although we all loved it when we looked around).

So - is living in a different village to the other children likely to be a problem? Ours is a big village but if she went to the big school she would've within walking distance of most school friends, the other is v rural so most of the children not within walking distance of each other.

Are mixed age group classes an advantage to children ahead of their age group in some subjects?

We would like her to start the nursery linked to whichever school she goes to from 3 and a half, which means if it is the small school we go for she needs to start nursery before we know she has a school place which seems a bit of a risk!

And if she goes to the independent school is it likely to be a nightmare of a culture shock going to state secondary? (The indie secondaries are far too expensive).

rabbitstew Fri 26-Oct-12 12:46:37

Your title is a bit misleading, as my answer to the title would be that a well run big school would be better for a child with issues (larger staff complement and economies of scale in use and purchase of resources can enable more attention to be given to children with issues and attract better facilities than a tiny school with only class teachers and a few TAs). However, in your case it doesn't sound like the large school is that well run and 40 children in juniors sounds ridiculously big - I hope they have tonnes of TAs and others support... Small schools are more risky, in my view, if you are comparing schools that are all good, in that problems with friendships or bullying are hard to deal with when there are no options in terms of separation of children into different classes, but they can work if you are lucky, as a small school can have a caring, nurturing environment just as easily as a claustrophobic one that is judgmental of anyone who doesn't quite fit in. And as for culture shocks going into state secondary - again, that depends on the school your child is going from and coming to. No generalisations are possible, there.

Finally, in terms of being near friends... if the children in the smaller school are all coming from different villages, that's less of an issue than if they all live in the same village and your dd is the only one coming from outside. However, in terms of your own village and having nearby friends as well, you will have to work very hard to find other ways to help your dd get to know children in your own village, as the easiest means of doing so will not be open to you if your dd doesn't go to the same school as everyone else. Judging by other posts on mumsnet about this sort of thing, your success in ensuring your dd has local friends will depend a bit on how judgmental other people are of your educational choices, as people do seem to be very judgmental about this sort of thing!!!!!!!!

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