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Pros & Cons of v small private primary esp class size

(27 Posts)
SouthernHippyChick Wed 12-Mar-14 05:59:55

Concerned re friendship groups, sports etc whether it'd be too limiting in a class of about 10. Hoping academic advantage in terms of more direct teacher time. Thoughts & experiences please?

HPparent Wed 12-Mar-14 06:17:47

I have been there and would not recommend it . As you say friendship choices are limited and my DD's had no proper friends, there was little sport.

Academically it was also not great. The school we were in had some awful teachers both in terms of ability and personality.

I think small schools are on a knife edge financially and you are constantly at the mercy of the whims of the head or proprietor.

The normal state primary was so much better socially and academically.

basildonbond Wed 12-Mar-14 06:18:34

Far too small IMO - you need at least 15 children in a class to get a big enough choice of friends etc and even that's too small for sports

Dd's school has 3 forms of 20 children per year group which is perfect - they're in 4 sets for maths with 10 children in the bottom set so they can get more attention

I'd also be worried about how financially viable a school that size could be

EdgeOfNowhere Wed 12-Mar-14 06:36:48

Not a good idea academically (or socially or for sport)

Too much chance of him being top or bottom of the class. Possibly by a long way. Which isn't good. And when maybe in a class of 20-30 he'd be bang in the middle.

Very hard for the teacher to make great engaging creative lessons with only 10 kids as well.

There have been studies on class size. Let me see if I can dig them out.

pushmepullyou Wed 12-Mar-14 06:38:18

Ds's school has an intake of 12, but the children are in mixed year groups so the class size is around 20. It is a really good school and we're really happy with it. I would be more influenced by the quality of the school than the size tbh.

EdgeOfNowhere Wed 12-Mar-14 06:42:33

Malcolm gladwell talks about class size in David and Goliath.

He concludes 18-24 is the optimum number and seriously recommends against less than 12 or more than 30.

His conclusion was It's hard to get a class dynamic (as opposed to a family or group of friends dynamic) with less than 12 in a class.

Chells Wed 12-Mar-14 06:47:20

Having taught in the indep schools for over ten years I'd advise you to think carefully. That class size sounds very small and would def limit friendship choices. Teaching quality will depend on if owners of school prefer to pay higher salaries for more qualified staff... Or the opposite.

nibs777 Wed 12-Mar-14 07:00:44

It's too small...also if there are any issues re other children or bullying, they can completely dominate and very hard to get away from them in such a small class/school. Also echo the point about class dynamic and financial viability.

If class is mixed gender, it means in a class of 10 you would have only 4 or 5 other children of same gender to be friends with - I think a class size of 15-20 is optimum in prep. with more classes...DS's school has 4 such classes in a year and they mingle them every year so plenty of chance to find some like minded personalities.

Clavinova Wed 12-Mar-14 09:53:17

Is this a year group of 10 or just class size? Single sex or co-ed? Two classes of 10 in a year group can work very well (classes join together for sports and drama etc but more direct teacher time in academic lessons) or indeed 10 children of the same sex in a year group (perhaps better for girls as you only need 7 for a netball team and every girl gets to play for the school). Do more children join in year 3?

LIZS Wed 12-Mar-14 09:57:22

Is that the whole year group or even mixed ages ? If so way too restrictive, for your dc as well as you as a parent. Also how viable is the school longer term ?

SouthernHippyChick Wed 12-Mar-14 10:34:15

Thanks everyone- its entire year group. Alternative is mixed grade/year gov primary with class size of c 20 made up of 2 different year groups.

Clavinova Wed 12-Mar-14 11:03:37

The state school set-up sounds almost identical to the private school; go with the school you like best/can afford.

wordfactory Wed 12-Mar-14 11:20:50

Too small IMVHO. I like a bit year group split into small class sizes.

SouthernHippyChick Wed 12-Mar-14 11:23:12

Similar class numbers though state school larger overall. Difference is year groups separated in private, 2 together in state. No experience of mixed-age classes so not sure.

SouthernHippyChick Wed 12-Mar-14 11:24:13

Not that many options unless we move house! Small rural schools locally.

Martorana Wed 12-Mar-14 11:27:16

Far too small. Honestly. Too easy to fall out with all the other girls(or boys). Not enough for a football team! Chances are not enough at your academic level for a peer group.

SouthernHippyChick Wed 12-Mar-14 11:28:44

So larger class made up of 2 different year groups better?

Martorana Wed 12-Mar-14 11:29:01

And if it's a private school you've got the worry of economic viability. And money to pay highly qualified teachers- the Head may just go for the cheapest option.

Clavinova Wed 12-Mar-14 11:36:07

Have you been to visit the schools yet? What did you think of the teachers both schools already employ?

EdgeOfNowhere Wed 12-Mar-14 11:36:29

Yes. Larger mixed age class sounds much better.

Nocomet Wed 12-Mar-14 11:46:23

Our school runs combined and occasionally split classes of 22-30 usually. 11-22 in a year group.

The year groups that have stayed above 12 have done really well, but smaller ones are very unstable and two have become single gender (both ways)

It seems that having 5-7 DCs of one sex is ok and less doesn't.

Nocomet Wed 12-Mar-14 11:47:02

Work

SouthernHippyChick Wed 12-Mar-14 12:23:10

Ok update, there are 12 kids now, 7 boys, 5 girls. So dd would then be 1 of 6

ScaryMcLary Wed 12-Mar-14 15:26:28

A "no" from me having been there too. Even with 12. I agree with PP re social diversity, also IME smaller schools can fail to attract the best teachers and financial situation is also a worry. We found that in our experience in a larger school teachers were able to work more effectively as a team and there was more specialist teaching and sharing of skills.

I can't comment on the state option as I have no experience as to whether it would be any better, but if there was a larger alternative independent school it would more likely be better value for money.

SouthernHippyChick Wed 12-Mar-14 15:55:45

I know, not ideal. Lots to think about.

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