Choice between two village schools- which would you go for?(17 Posts)
Am really quite stuck choosing the first and second choice for DDs primary application for next sep. Would appreciate some honest opinions. We live in an area where there are no schools in a realistic walkable distance. Have narrowed down to two choices. One is the nearer school, in what is suppose is our nearest village though as I mentioned, would not be able to walk there even so. It looks as though dd were to go there she would be in a mixed age class R,1 and 2 with potentially only 3 others in her year- not sure if they are girls or boys at this stage.
The second school is also a village school with mixed age classes but is 15 -20 mins away by car. Still mixed aged class but if she got in there would be approx 13 others in her year.
We liked both schools when we visited.
Either way, until we possibly move, some effort will be required on our part to travel and enable friendships. So how important do you rate size of year groups vs distance etc?
I would go for the second one you describe. If you are to move in the future, which is likely to be the closer school? That might help you decide. It sounds like you're very rural. Does your DD have any friends who might be likely to go to either school?
I would go for the second as well, moving closer in the near future as 20 mins is a long way especially in bad weather! But will you get into these schools?
I wouldn't want to limit the friendship pool by having a small choice of people to mix with. I would also want to limit the age range of the mixed age class room.
Reception, year 1 and 2, nah I don't think so.
As you will have to drive to either school, I would also advise that when you move, you get your dd involved in as much local activity as possible too, so that she makes friends where she lives. You may find that after school mixing is not as easy, because people don't want to do too much of a drive to other people's houses for tea etc.
Thank you. I think I am leaning towards the second school and that is partly down to having read on here recently about the problems with small year groups/being the only opposite gender in a year group etc.
On the other hand have also read so much advice pointing to choosing your nearest school and the issues with friendship if you don't.... It's so difficult.
I didn't envisage this problem when we moved to this house, just loved its rural location. But it's certainly proving to be a dilemma now. Unfortunately we don't know when moving will be viable but it's something we are working towards and hope to manage it in the next couple of years.
I think if your nearest school is an easy walk away that it makes sense to choose that one. Presumably in a rural location most children will live some distance away and so even if you went to your nearest school then friends might be a distance away anyway. From what you've said I would go for the second school.
What about school transport though? We live in a rural area but to get the free transport children have to go to their nearest school ( and it's quite normal round here for even Reception children to travel in a taxi or in a minibus without their parents).
Gosh not sure I'd want to spend one hour or one hour and twenty a day commuting just to school. I'd go for the closer school even though it isn't walking distance. Be easier for all the tons of events you will have to pop in,easier for play dates and for your own social circle mixing that will develop though the school.
Children can mix well across year groups. Small school often feel like a family with the oldest looking after the youngest.
I tend to prefer larger schools which would mean School2, but...
20 minutes by car... when? Is that normal driving time or rush hour school-run driving, with attendant parking problems which can easily add 5 minutes onto the commute (by the time you park somewhere).
Is either more convenient with regard to other regular places you go (shopping, leisure centre, work?)
As long as the classes are roughly equal size then, all other factors being equal, I would favour the nearer school if it is much shorter drive than School 2.
Hi, thanks again for replies.
The 20 mins (it is actually nearer to 15 but if you have to reverse etc on the lanes it adds a couple of minutes on) is at school-run time. Parking is fine, but adds on potentially another couple of minutes as it might do anywhere I guess.
The further school is far more convenient in terms of using amenities as we, and the nearest school, are pretty remote whereas other school is situated near a couple of small towns. It's definitely a relevant point, but would like the best for dd even if it's not the best for me.
I attended a small village primary myself (similar in size to our nearest school) and I totally agree about the family feel of the school. However one thing I did struggle with was a very small year group (there were 3 girls and 2 boys) and I always felt left out. My experience ( certainly in my school- not everywhere I'm sure) was that whilst children in other year groups were perfectly pleasant to each other, there was still a certain kudos associated with your own year group and closest friends seemed to be within your own group.
The nearest school has I think only 3 or 4 others going in sep. Is it likely the head would give me any idea of the gender of those children? Do you think this would be information worth knowing?
The larger school, will be approx 14/15 in reception next sep.
Public transport wise, I hadn't been planning on requesting it for dd, but yes I believe they have to attend their nearest school in order to claim it.
I'm also voting for school 2, especially if you can tie in whatever shopping etc may be necessary with one of the runs.
Oh one big difference between the schools was the space for each 'half' of the school. So nearest school had a gorgeous, airy and huge area for rec, 1 and 2. Wonderful. However 3,4,5 and 6 were in much much smaller rooms. Sardines spring to mind. They all seemed on task and happy when we visited but the room felt warm, cramped and ponged a bit...
In further school rec and ks1 didn't have quite the same in terms of space (was still adequate though) but ks2 had a more equal amount of space in their rooms.
How important is space further up the school in yours/your DCs experience?
Thanks imperial, yes that is tempting!
Bump for some experience of space issues in ks2- see my last post in this thread. Thanks.
How important is space further up the school in yours/your DCs experience?
Not important, I dare say, but what does matter is the size of the hall and how they handle lunches. Our school was built for about 120 pupils. It now has 340 pupils and the same original hall. Somehow all the children can squeeze in there together, but any event, even just the regular lunchtimes are a massive juggle. Christmas fair is claustrophobic madhouse. The kids eat lunch in shifts and it means less food consumed for older ones, especially.
Village schools almost always have quite large catchments. Even if you live next door to the school you will guarantee DCs best friend will live on a farm 3 miles away.
Once you've got in the car 10-20 mins. makes no odds. Strapping reception DCs in parking, getting them out all takes time.
Very small schools can work, but friend ships can be limited.
DDs have had years of 13-20 and those have been fine other years of 8 or 9 have had problems as the gender balances have been awful (one year now only has girls).
3 might well work because that means they have to make across year friendships and maintain them year on year.
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