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Having a wobble about size of school

(12 Posts)
brokenshoes Mon 03-Mar-14 16:48:52

We are moving to a new area soon and have a 3 year old (who will be starting Reception in Sept. 2015).

I don't drive, so we wanted to live close to the town and can therefore walk to the shops/library/swimming pool/cinema etc. The house we are buying is fortunate in that it is very, very close to an infant/junior school.

The infant school has recently gone from "outstanding" to "requires improvement" and the junior school is "good". It is a very big school, with 120 pupils being admitted to each year group.

I'm having a bit of a wobble about such a large infant/junior school. Not quite sure why, other than just a general feeling about smaller schools being better for young children and the teachers knowing all pupils by name.

Getting to one of the other two other schools in the area would mean either an hour-long round trip (walking) or awkward public transport journey.

Not quite sure what I want from posting this really. I suppose I feel that as I don't drive my perception is that there is less of a choice of schools. I guess I'm having a general "moving house/area" wobble and need some reassurance.

tacal Mon 03-Mar-14 18:03:08

I chose a small school for my ds because I was sure smaller would be much better for him. I hated it! It just didn't feel right and I moved him to a much bigger school which is closer to our house. Ds is so much happier at the bigger school. Everything about the bigger school is better, so smaller is not always best! I also find we are happier now we can walk to school.

OutwiththeOutCrowd Mon 03-Mar-14 18:24:51

For my DS, bigger has proved to be better too. In the smaller school, he was rejected socially. The boys there seemed to be of a particular, narrow type - club football and rugby playing, loud and confident alpha males from moneyed backgrounds. DS was different and completely ostracised as a result, although he tried very hard to be friendly.

In the larger school he currently attends, there is a wide variety of boys and that means he has been able to find like-minded boys to hang out with.

You might strike lucky with the smaller school but it's always going to be a riskier proposition than a larger school. I wish I had realised earlier how socially limiting a smaller school can be.

kilmuir Mon 03-Mar-14 18:41:20

I moved my DD from a 90 entry school to a small primary. Suits her much better.
A lot depends on the child and a vague feeling from the school when i looked around.
The larger school has gone from outstanding to the next level down and primary has moved to outstanding! I met some parents from larger primary, who now want to move their child. Crazy

TalkinPeace Mon 03-Mar-14 18:45:39

if its nearby, that counts for a lot
absolute size of a school is nothing compared to how they deal with pastoral issues

RhinestoneCowgirl Mon 03-Mar-14 18:52:03

Our school became 4 form entry a couple of years ago, the year after DS started, I did worry at the time but both my DC love the school (youngest in reception.)

And proximity is really important for primary I think, we can walk to school in 10min. I'd hate to bus/drive.

overmydeadbody Mon 03-Mar-14 18:56:36

Size of school does not reflect how good the school is.

I have worked in a three form outstanding school, and when I worked there all the Reception teachers (including me) knew all 90 reception children, all the year 1 teachers knew all the year 1s, etc etc so teachers still knew the names of all the childrne they would come across.

I have worked (as supply) in some small schools where I really would not want my child to go.

Best thing, visit the school. Don't assume the size is what makes it 'worse'.

tess73 Mon 03-Mar-14 19:01:34

My Dds go to a 90 intake school. It isn't too big. The school although one building is quite segregated so never feels like all 650 kids (90 x 7 years + nursery ) in altogether!

Pros: facilities, large social mix, extra curricular options likely to be plentiful with such a big market
Cons: difficult to be chosen for sports teams, parking near school though luckily you don't need to consider this, the year groups won't mix much so you miss put on that vertical interaction which can be very beneficial.

brokenshoes Mon 03-Mar-14 19:16:36

Thank you everyone! As I said, I think I'm having a pre-move wobble. If our new house was near the smaller village school I'd no doubt be worrying about feeling cut-off and not being able to get into town easily.

redskyatnight Mon 03-Mar-14 19:34:28

My DC go to a 4 form entry junior after previously being at a 2 form entry infants. It's been the making of DS, who struggled to find his niche in the smaller school. The school is well set up for pastoral care (e.g. the HT might not know everyone but the year manager does) and we've been really impressed by the resources and opportunities the school is able to command due to the higher numbers.

NotCitrus Mon 03-Mar-14 20:10:28

Ds I thought would benefit from a small school, didn't get into local one, has started at a school that's now 90 entry.
It's worked really well - they did a detailed visit with each child before entry, start a few a day after term starts so the Head and teachers can learn all their names, and Reception are kept together. They can move to different classes for bits of reading and other subjects and generally it feels like a small friendly school despite the numbers.

ContentedSidewinder Mon 03-Mar-14 20:12:53

ds1 is in a very large primary, 3 form entry and he was and still is a very shy child but he did absolutely fine. He is now in year 6. It will stand him in good stead when he goes to an even larger secondary.

I have volunteered in the school, all the staff know the names of the children really early on, even the office staff do.

Having a huge pool of friends to choose from makes it easier for them to be included rather than left out.

Walking to school is fab and we did it in all weathers, no fighting for parking.

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