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Class of 11 versus class of 30?

(57 Posts)
voodoothatyoudo Mon 29-Jun-09 19:52:07

I know this may seem like a no brainer to some but I'm torn between a private school with a class of 11 for dd1 and a state school with a class of 30

TBH we were not considering private but dd1 didn't originally get into the state school and panicking I enrolled her at the private. They've now decided to add on an extra class so she's in - Howver now we're a bit confused as we'd sort of bought in to the private myth

If we drop out of the private school we will have to pay them a penalty of £4800 - term's fees plus a deposit. That's an incentive for staying. Otoh it is a drive away, the state school is an easy walk.

Also I'm actually concerned 11 in dd's class (as it stands now) is actually too small. There'll be around six girls (there is a parallel class too so a few more she may know superficially) but is that a big enough friendship pool, knowing how vile little girls can be? I've seen the work they're doing at the private school and it's extremely impressive (nor is it a hot house) and I'm not surprised with all that one-on-one attention they get but I do worry it may not be ideal from a friendship pov.

But I also worry she may - like others - not get enough attention in the state school. Anyway, ultimately, class size pros and cons will be the decider. We can afford private but would rather not pay if we don't have to, not least because I believe in supporting the local school. Thanks in advance for any help.

LadyHooHa Mon 29-Jun-09 20:21:28

Yep, it's a no brainer!

Mine are in classes of 11 and 16 respectively, and there have been no friendship issues. The classes are very closely bonded as there aren't many children in them. Ours isn't a hot-house either - it's a lovely, friendly place. The parallel classes do mix a fair bit, which gives extra friendship opportunities. If you can afford it, I'd go for it!

scienceteacher Mon 29-Jun-09 20:25:42

My youngest is in a class of seven. It is great - she has really come along. She has friends in all year groups - not just her own.

My DD has only 12 in her year at a state primary. She's actually in a mixed class with the year above but even so there are only 16 in the class. All the kids seem to play with kids from other years and from other classes. So DD who's Yr 3 will happily play with infants and the older kids.

hocuspontas Mon 29-Jun-09 20:34:22

How many adults in the classroom? If only one then a class of 30 with a teacher and TA isn't that much different.

cat64 Mon 29-Jun-09 20:55:30

Message withdrawn

MummyDragon Mon 29-Jun-09 22:06:34

Have just moved my DS from an "outstanding" state school (30 kids per class, 90 kids in the year) to a private school with 11 kids in the class. It's a no-brainer. The private school is amaaaaaaaaaazing in comparison - one teacher & one TA for 11 kids, compared to one teacher & one TA for 30 kids in the state school. Therefore the kids get a lot more one-to-one attention from the teacher. The school is not academically pushy, but my goodness, the stuff the children are doing (both academically and extra-curricularlylyly) is awe-inspirint. There are no friendship issues - for the boys or the girls. The children play with kids from other classes at breaktimes, which is lovely. If you can afford it, I would recommend the smaller classes, definitely. (DH is a teacher and he agrees with me!). Teachers in large classes, no matter how well-behaved the class, and no matter how good the teacher, simply do not have time to meet the individual needs of every child - it's impossible.

If I make it sound like it's perfect, it's because it is everything I could wish for in a school. And most importantly, my DS loves it. (He did not love his old school!).

MummyDragon Mon 29-Jun-09 22:07:22

Sorry about the typos; there were more than 11 kids in my class when I was at school ...!

smartiejake Mon 29-Jun-09 22:37:39

My DD is at a small independent secondary and year 7 was tricky. I actually felt that the low numbers caused problems as it's hard to get away from those you don't get on with (as you say girls are vile especially when you throw hormones into the mixgrin)There are only 28 children in her school year (split into 2 classes) and only 12 of them are girls.

Howevershe is just coming to the end of year 8 and has really settled down She has a really strong, close group of friends (both boys and girls) and because it's such a small school she has lots of friends in all year groups.

marialuisa Tue 30-Jun-09 08:44:37

DD (Y3) started at a private school with a similar set-up, 2 parallel classes with 10-12 in each. There was quite a high turnover in her year group (quite a lot of expats in the year) and although there were always new kids joining the year group never quite caught up and they ended up merging the classes into one bigger class of 14. Although it worked well for DD in the infants it became problematic when they got to Y3. There were a couple of very strong characters that ruled the roost and DD was uncomfortable as she was the only child working at a particular level.

We made a hard decision to move her to another, much bigger, private school at the start of this term (3 classes of 25 in the year!) and it was the right thing to do. DD is very academic though and really didn't want or need the kind of individual support that her first school offered. I think in your position I would give the state primary a whirl and if it doesn't work out move her across to the private school.

Litchick Tue 30-Jun-09 08:57:46

Smaller classes everytime.
And don't think the children in the other classes will only be 'superficially' involved. My DCs are friends with the kids in all the other entry forms. They often mix them up for sports, music etc and of course when setting applies the mix up all the time.
Then there are houses. You meet all the kkids in your house if the school pursues this actively.

ScummyMummy Tue 30-Jun-09 09:12:33

I think this is the sort of thing that changes as kids grow older. I think younger children (infant age) often do benefit from smaller classes but as they grow older having a range of children to forge friendships with is massively important. There are quite a few threads on here about kids having real problems with small school dynamics. Mind you, i guess there are also a good few re kids feeling lost in a larger class- you can't win! However, my personal opinion is that it's a no brainer not to try a good local community school in the first instance.

thedolly Tue 30-Jun-09 09:15:20

For reception a class of 10/12 is ideal but as they get older it can be a bit of a pain - especially if there is an uneven number of girls and they start pairing up.

As you have paid you might as well just follow through for the first year. You will learn a lot about how it is in the other years from talking to other mums and if you decide to move her for to the state school for year 1 it really won't have made much difference not being there for reception.

talbot Tue 30-Jun-09 09:20:22

My 3 kids are in classes ranging from 11 - 16 with no friendship issues. All classes have a teacher and a dedcated teaching assistant.

smee Tue 30-Jun-09 11:00:04

How close is the private school - really important to DS is having friends on the doorstep, and being part of the community. If it's a lovely primary I'd stick with it. She'll have a great time, make masses of friends and mix with lots of different kids. Save your money I'd say.

smee Tue 30-Jun-09 11:02:05

Just re-read (d'oh!) and you say private school's a drive away. Honestly I know one to one is great, but if there's TA's in the primary the ratio's not that different. Walk to school and be part of the local community. So important and wonderful for all of you.

missmem Tue 30-Jun-09 11:41:39

If there had only been one form per year then 11 may be too small but as it is there are other forms so she will make plenty of friends. DS has been in classes ranging from 8-30 and we noticed that 11-12 was the perfect number.

talbot Tue 30-Jun-09 11:44:49

I would assume the class of 11 will have a teacher and a TA as well. I've never come a cross a private school without a TA for each class no matter how small although I might be wrong.

geekgirl Tue 30-Jun-09 11:55:06

surprised by people saying it's a no-brainer... my dd1 is in a class of 12 at state school, and it's not working out well socially for her at all as it such a small group of girls. I wish she was in a bigger class, I think she would be a lot happier. I suppose it was easier when she was much younger, but now in Y5 small does not equal better.

I would go for the local school - being part of the community is so important. When your dd is older she'll be able to walk to friends' houses easily, meet up with them at the playground etc. If you drive her somewhere else for schooling you will lose that connection.

lljkk Tue 30-Jun-09 12:03:55

In the long run I reckon local school will make you happier OP; walking distance to school itself & to more friends, supporting the local school (your principles) & save money.

smee Tue 30-Jun-09 12:04:12

talbot, I've heard the opposite - that most private schools don't have TA's. You may well be right though.

stoppingat3 Tue 30-Jun-09 12:06:07

I guess it really depends on your child. Does she seem to like one particular friend, or a big group?
My DS's are in classes of 11 and 15 at their school with a teacher and TA in with all of the pre prep classes.
DS1 is in year 4 and they split the classes into streaming, so, for example he is in a class of 10 for maths. Just the teacher I think though (maybe a gapper?).
At our school they mix up the classes in the prep school and also teach the girls together for sport.
If you can afford it then I would 100% say go for it. It is not just the class sizes that are a factor, the scope of education is wider and the opportunities will blow your mind.
My DS2 (6) has just won medals for the high jump, throwing and long jump at his new school. Last year he had a "non-competitive sports day" where everyone got a sticker at the end. Hmmmm I know where he prefers.
We do make a concerted effort to include him in the local area though, cubs/ scouts/ swimming etc.
Good luck with your decision.

talbot Tue 30-Jun-09 12:11:58

Well I must have visited 15 private schools in the past year (in 2 counties) and not a single one has not had a TA at primary level, even for classes of 10.

stoppingat3 Tue 30-Jun-09 12:24:00

Every pre prep school we visited (5 in total over two counties) also had a TA whatever the class size. In fact the largest class size we saw was 15. One school even had a reading assistant who read one to one with each child daily.

smee Tue 30-Jun-09 12:26:33

Ooh, okay - I was wrong... smile

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