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Choice of school, large or small what's your preference

(19 Posts)
101StressPuppy Mon 16-May-05 20:53:33

I'm fairly sure that I can enrol my child in either 1 of two schools close to my house but I can't make up my mind which I should apply for so I'd like your opinions..

The first is a large school with a fairly high turnover of children as there is a high attendence from the local university (a lot of international families funding by the employer). This gives a lot of exposure to a lot of nationalities and cultures. High % of As on the OFSTEd report that I read.

The second is an extremely small infaant school (28 children)but has A* throughout the OFSTED and an extremely good repuation, the downside is there would be no direct exposure to other cultures (which personally I think is a real shame). Also my dd would only be there for a few years and then go to another school (at 7?). However would a smaller school mean stronger friendships are formed, there is also a lot of 1:1 teacher pupil time.

Which environment would you prefer your child to be in? I'm just curious

tallulah Mon 16-May-05 21:02:34

Depends on the child.. A small school can have a real "family" atmosphere with everyone knowing everyone else and the older ones looking out for the big ones- or you can have huge problems because your child can't stand the Y1 teacher (for example) and can't be moved because there's only 1 Y1 class.

My kids have been to 3 schools each (7 different ones- 3 primary & 4 secondary) & each time it's been the "feel" of the school that has decided us.

charleepeters Mon 16-May-05 21:03:53

i would go for the smaller one i had the experience of both as a kid and much preffered the smaller you tend to find it easyer to make friends as its generally closer and you tend to get more one on one teacher,pupil comunication where in a big school the teacher has alot more children to deal with and cant focus on single pupils as much.

101StressPuppy Mon 16-May-05 21:11:12

that's interestig. I'm torn between the two, part of me thinks the bigger school would be more of a softener for further schools, the smaller gives very good results and all the people my ages that went there are firm friends even now adn they really seem to look out for each other.

Then there's a little part of me which wonders in the grand scheme of thins will it really make that much difference?

Blu Mon 16-May-05 21:18:05

For me, it would partly depend on the school she/he would go on to at 7. If that is a good school, and lots of children would be going together from the Infant school, I would choose the smaller school with the more stable population of children. I too feel v strongly about the value of diversity in a school, but if this is something you are conscious of, it will filter in in different ways. (and I'm a Mum of a very 'diverse' child!).

101StressPuppy Mon 16-May-05 21:21:35

Blu, all of the children would go to the next school, however bizarrely enough, I've not even thought to look at that schools' ofsted!

Will have a look on the website tomorrow!! it might just swing my decision.

roisin Mon 16-May-05 21:22:30

I've always preferred big schools - larger peer group from which to choose your friends, etc. But in practice I've discovered many more advantages. My boys go to an excellent oversubscribed primary school with nearly 500 children, and there are major advantages from a budgetting point of view. For example our school has a non-teaching Head, a full-time non-teaching SENCO, a 0.5 specialist music teacher (with no class responsibility), LOADS of extra support staff, state-of-the-art IT suite with 36 networked computers (as well as PCs in every classroom), interactive whiteboards in most classrooms, two fabulous libraries, dedicated sports hall and separate dining room, with fully equipped kitchen and meals cooked on site, excellent sporting opportunities, loads of visiting drama groups, poets, pantomimes etc. (this sort of thing is more cost-effective for a larger school).
I could go on and on

Btw despite the size the Head knows all the children individually - and I mean knows, not just their names, and really cares. She reads every child's report every year, and handwrites a couple of sentences; and she signs every merit certificate and writes a comment ...

Large schools don't have to be impersonal.

101StressPuppy Mon 16-May-05 21:25:10

AH Roisin, see, now you make me think - yes tht would be fab and your right. eek.

throckenholt Mon 16-May-05 21:28:09

we looked at a very small school (about 25 kids) - it was very nice atmosphere but we felt that the peer group was just too small.

We chose a school that is about 100 kids in total (up to age 11) - which suits our son - I don't think he would cope very well in a big school.

Only you know your child best - but presumably you could transfer to the other school if you really felt you had made the wrong choice in the future.

101StressPuppy Mon 16-May-05 21:31:26

She's fairly shy. I don't know, I haven't been to look round either yet.

suedonim Tue 17-May-05 13:29:11

We've had experience of both sizes of school and would go for small every time. My dd is at a 29 pupil school with three teachers, four class assistants and a whole raft of specialist teachers. I think one of the great things is that every child gets to do everything. Eg the school is putting on a play at the end of term and every child will have a part. The children do well later on in their school careers and have a great loyalty to each other. Research has shown a number of benefits to smaller schools - find more info at NASS. Hth.

firestorm Tue 17-May-05 20:05:22

my dd currently attends a large primary school (over 650 pupils) & our experience is nothing like roisin`s. dd is just another face in the crowd & the headteacher wouldnt have a clue who she was. they dont even have whole school assemblies because its just too big. its highly impersonal. roisin is lucky with her large school. i think that our experience is more the norm though.
we are moving area soon & dd will probably go to a 130 pupil school which will suit her much better as shes a shy sensitive soul.
good luck with your choice.

LGJ Tue 17-May-05 20:09:18

What defines small and large, pardon the ignorance

LGJ Tue 17-May-05 20:12:22

This was what decided me.............Part of the mission statement.


I believe that children need to be nurtured if they are to enjoy their childhood and that we must treasure today as the most important moment in their lives.

I feel, in the face of the sometimes overwhelming pressures of today's society, that their childhood must never be lost in the dash for tomorrow!

Gobbledigook Tue 17-May-05 20:13:47

roisin - you've pretty much described the primary ds1 will start at in September. I always knew it was great but your post had me nodding along thinking 'w-hey!'.

bubblerock Tue 17-May-05 20:15:48

When I was little we had 2 infant/primary schools in the area - one bigish and one smallish when we all joined up at the local secondary school the ones from the smaller school were noticibly 'younger' and not so streetwise if you get what I mean, I think it was more the fact that there were some 'harder' kids at the school I was at. Sounds really rough, but it wasn't really

roisin Tue 17-May-05 20:16:16

Excellent Gobbledigook, I hope in 3 years' tme you're as thrilled with it as we are.

youngmama Tue 17-May-05 21:21:27

my ds goes to a 220 pupil school.Which i think is about right,at least for him.Its not so big he gets lost in the crowd and he will be that much more prepared for the big secondary school he will attend at 11. I did think about sending him to a 50 pupil school,but the one he has now has advantage of having ore choices of friends. I do think it depends on the child though.

suedonim Tue 17-May-05 22:01:22

NASS defines a small school as one with 100 or fewer pupils.

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