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DD will be only Reception Year child at the school

(62 Posts)
evolucy7 Sat 25-Jun-11 20:08:49

I have posted this in AIBU too by the way, but now thought that there may be teachers or others here who may not look in AIBU as much as here smile

My 2 DDs (5 year old in Reception, 4 year old in Nursery class) are at a small independent school, I have been very happy with this for the 5 year old but I am now concerned about the 4 year old entering Reception in September. I have just found out that she is going to be the only Reception year child, I knew there wouldn't be many and had already spoken to the school about this.

They have mixed classes, this year Reception has been with Yr1, but in September they have said that they are reverting back to Nursery and Reception together. It depends on how many children they have in each year which classes they mix.

I have major concerns about this.

My 4 year old already works at Reception level, and the school have acknowledged this, they said that she was more than capable of working in a mixed Yr1/Yr2 class in September which is what I wanted really rather than being in a class where 80% or so were Nursery children and the other 20% Reception. I feel that the dynamics of a class like that are wrong, particularly if a child is capable of working at a higher than expected level. And also from the point of view of maturity, some of the just turned 3 year olds that started after Easter seem quite babylike and with the mass of the class being much younger the class feels 'wrong' for what I want to be paying for. Anyway I was talked into it being ok and assured that work would be differentiated for her, I still had my reservations though.

Now with the latest news I don't want her as the only Reception child in a class with just Nursery children, I would like her in the Yr1/Yr2 class. She knows all these children well and they are friends, earlier in the year Reception did do some stuff with Nursery, and they do PE together etc. It seems a case of her either being with the year younger or older, and I think older is best. Then there is the question of what happens at Yr 5/6. I could take both girls to a different school now but where at this late stage, and actually I am happy with the school for DD1.


I really am interested in hearing different viewpoints, I want to see if there is something I am not considering here.

mrz Sat 25-Jun-11 20:11:39

I would be very concerned that the school has only attracted one reception child

evolucy7 Sat 25-Jun-11 20:19:59

I am less concerned about that actually, it is a small school. In DD1's current year, Reception there are 7, in Yr1 5, Yrs2-6 probably averaging 5 per year. I don't think anything has particularly changed this year, with such a small school it doesn't take much to make a difference.

mrz Sun 26-Jun-11 12:19:21

Sorry i thought you were asking for views on the situation and that would be mine. I attended a very small school - 3 children in my year group and I struggled socially outside the small pond.

seeker Sun 26-Jun-11 12:55:55

Who is she going to maek friends with?

This is so very obviously a bad idea that I don;t really understand why you are even considering it.

And what happens when she's the only year 1child, year 2....etc.

I woudl move both of them.

evolucy7 Sun 26-Jun-11 13:25:58

But I don't want them in a school where there are classes of 30.

The other independent school is too expensive.

I am perfectly happy with DD1 with 7 in her year.

And so in light of the news that DD2 will be the only child in her year I am trying to explore the option of moving DD2 up a year, as the school have already said that she is academically capable.

mrz Sun 26-Jun-11 13:28:31

I attended a school with 30 pupils aged 4-11 and socially it took me years to cope.

evolucy7 Sun 26-Jun-11 13:30:35

In what ways?

mrz Sun 26-Jun-11 13:35:28

I think I was 30 before I was truly comfortable with larger groups of people and meeting new people.
My children attended a school with 80 -90 pupils my son in a year group of 15 my daughter in a year group of 10 and I felt this was a much better start.

Binfullofmaggotsonthe45 Sun 26-Jun-11 13:37:13

My ds is in a small school, new and International. When he started there were 4 in the class. If the group is that small learning won't be a problem as the teacher to pupil ratio means plenty of exposure, so it's not really going to be an issue from that side. When we were considering the school, our best mate (an ex head teacher from a huge city primary) said the small class sizes would be a real advantage to learning.

Plus all the kids play together outside, sports and swimming are mixed and because the community is small they all look out for each other and are extremely protective of each other. Some days i go to the playground and see ds playing with 11yo's other days he is playing with 4 yo's.

There is a different momentum to small schools without segregation.

I would just think positively about all that one to one time with the teacher. It is possible for her to have a tailored learning plan. I have seen it done very well at ds school.

seeker Sun 26-Jun-11 13:40:43

She will have no friends her own age.

There won't be enough children of a roughly similar age to amke up a netball team.

She won;t have a choice of freinds - if she falls out with a couole she's stuffed.

She will find it incredibly difficuolt when she gets to secondarty school.

I could go on.

30 in a class is fine. A teacher and a TA.

mrz Sun 26-Jun-11 13:41:18

But there isn't going to be 1-1 time with a teacher because there are mixed classes - she will either remain with nursery children or move up (as the OP wants) to be with Y1 and Y2.
I would also point out good teachers can do tailored learning in classes of 30

Bonsoir Sun 26-Jun-11 13:43:18

Surely this is the danger of very small schools, and, as it is a private school, you did, presumably, choose it freely? I think you have to live with it or change your DDs to a different school.

Bonsoir Sun 26-Jun-11 13:45:23

And I agree with mrz - bigger schools are a much better preparation for the realities of adult life in the modern world. For better or worse, we live in a world of very large and complex institutions. Shielding children from this in tiny schools is a poor social preparation for later.

My DD's school has 900 children (nursery and primary) and it is just fine!

savoycabbage Sun 26-Jun-11 13:48:10

What would be your plan after this year? It seems unlikely that new children would start during the year so she would still be the only one in her year group. It seems like a very tricky path.

evolucy7 Sun 26-Jun-11 13:51:36

Yes I appreciate that 30 in a class can and does work for some people at certain schools, but personally where I live and with my DDs I am not happy with it.

If she moved to the Yr1/2 class she would be in a year group of 8. She already plays very well with the children in the year above, in and out of school.

As binfull said the whole school inteacts very well together in all sorts of situations.

I think that I would be happy with her being moved up a year, it seems to have been established at the school that she would cope academically. They going swimming every week, where she is in the group with the the current reception year children and some Yr1s. She plays outside of school with the reception year children. There are 4 other children currently in her Nursery Year who are all leaving, I believe due to finances, and yet she has always talked far more of the reception children then her own year.

evolucy7 Sun 26-Jun-11 13:52:45


savoycabbage Sun 26-Jun-11 13:53:36

Sounds perfect then.

seeker Sun 26-Jun-11 13:56:41

So 8 children from 4 to 7.

Sorry - I really really don't think that's a viable social group. Your dd will have to "act up" an age group all the time - she may well be perfectly capable of doing it academically, but there will be so few people to be friends with.

CecilyP Sun 26-Jun-11 13:57:52

Surely, your YR child will be in a mixed Y1/Y2 class. It can't be economical for the school to provide 1 to 1 tuition for her. I see the problem being worse at the other end of her primary school career. At present, she is close enough in age to make friends with the Y1 children, but when they are gone to secondary, unless the school attracts a lot of new pupils, she will be the only pupil left in Y6.

evolucy7 Sun 26-Jun-11 13:59:39

Bonsoir...I don't believe that they are being shielded from anything? There are many different personalities at the school, as there always have been, and past pupils have gone on to do very different things and work in very different fields. Myself and my sister went to the school, I have worked for small companies as well as huge corporations such as DHL. My sister has started her own business and as well as having a very demanding full time job (crazy girl).

Yes I chose the school freely, and as I have said I am still happy with the choice for DD1 with 7 in her year, it is just the issue of DD2 and moving her up year so she is not alone in the year.

If I can't resolve this, yes of course I will look elsewhere, but I am trying to do the best I can for them obviously.

seeker Sun 26-Jun-11 14:00:35

Who will your dd be friends with?

evolucy7 Sun 26-Jun-11 14:03:19

seeker - she would be in a class of Reception age (just her), 7 Yr1s and 5 Yr2s so 13 in total. DD1 who is currently 5 is very good friends with the children in her year Reception and Yr1, that is how the class is arranged this year. (As well as in other classes)

seeker Sun 26-Jun-11 14:06:35

So nobody at all the same age as her. WHat happens if all the older ones stick together and leave her out? What happens when she is the only year 6 in the school?

teacherwith2kids Sun 26-Jun-11 14:08:03

If you move her up now, what will she do when she's the only child in Year 6 and all her friends have left??

What will you do if she turns out to be good at sport - no chance of any team sports going on with a school of that size...

Is the school financially viable?? What's the current staffing structure?

Do you plan to supplement this very limited social experience in school with other activities - Rainbows, sports clubs, ballet or whatever she is interested in - to widen her social circle?

Also, as I understand it she will be in the same class as her elder sibling and her friends but without any peer group of her own - is this going to work? That will depend on the peronalities of the two, but will your younger child always be fighting for the attention of her sister's friends and always be less attractive to them than her sister because she is younger and more immature?

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