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Is a prep year group of 15 too small?

(32 Posts)
Mumtogremlins Fri 08-Mar-13 23:45:53


I'm thinking of sending my DS to a small prep school - it only has 12-15 children per year group. I'm worried he might not make many friends due to the lack of children but are there any other disadvantages or advantages to a small school?
As far as I'm aware the school is stable and has been around for a long time so not too worried about it closing due to low numbers. Each year group is full or nearly full

Laura4041 Sun 10-Mar-13 18:42:23

Mutteroo & Inclusionist (or anyone else who knows!)...

What are the key things to look for having found the school on the charities commission website. What would demonstrate something to worry about or something that gives confidence? I have this in front of me but not sure how to interpret it!

Inclusionist Sun 10-Mar-13 20:50:46

I'm no accountant. I just look at the 'Financial History' section and see whether their income usually covers their expenditure. You'd be surprised how often it doesn't!!

SanityClause Sun 10-Mar-13 21:02:06

I think it's too small.

A friend sent her two DDs to a school with similar class sizes. Her older DD was in a class with three other girls, two of whom were twins.

People say that smaller class sizes are better for learning, but I think slightly larger class sizes allow more for more ideas in discussions. A class of 20 with a teacher and TA will allow plenty of support for each child.

SanityClause Sun 10-Mar-13 21:17:16

Laura Check the balance sheet. Do they own the buildings? If so, are there loans on them? By how much do their assets exceed their liabilities?

If they have a few bad years, and need to borrow money, a bank is only likely to do so based on the security provided by mortgaging the buildings. A commercial mortgage may only be 60% loan to value.

Agree, do check that the school has at least covered its expenses with income in recent years.

What happens to surpluses? Are they reinvested into school equipment, such as IT equipment?

Two private schools local to us have closed down within the last ten years; old schools, which you would not expect to be financially precarious. It is an affluent area, in the SE.

grimsleeper Tue 12-Mar-13 11:08:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

stealthsquiggle Tue 12-Mar-13 11:21:22

As a class size, it works well IME. As a year size - fine in early years, but by about Y4 I think they need a larger peer group to allow different interests to develop and still have critical mass.

DC's school starts at this sort of size in YR, but most year groups are closer to 40 by Y4.

Mumtogremlins Mon 18-Mar-13 12:10:10

Would it be such a problem if he was only moving to the school for 2 years (starting in year 5) and then leaving at 11? Trying to decide on the small school which goes up to 11 or the larger one which goes up to 13. I get the feeling that it may easier to get a secondary private place at 11 but like the idea of keeping him in a less scary school until 13

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