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When is a class size too small?

(38 Posts)
eeyoresgrumpierfriend Mon 16-May-16 12:31:58

I've just learnt that DD's class will have just 13 children in it next year. This is unusual for her school - it's independent but class size is usually nearer to 20.

Is that too small?

TheDailyMailareabunchofcunts Mon 16-May-16 12:35:20

I think it is.
Did had 12 in her class but only 3 girls. Including her.
If I had my time again I would never do it and they have much more scope to find a likeminded friend in a bigger class. Even a one form entry village school wouldn't be my first choice now. Years ago I thought small was best and I was very wrong!

steppemum Mon 16-May-16 12:45:32

hmm, It is pretty borderline.
Do you know any of the children?
13 children where she got on with and liked 5 or 6 would be OK. But also look at ratio boys to girls, and if it is balanced.

Is it one form of one age?

Mine went for a while to a primary where there was 15 in the class, but mixed all of KS1, and there was such a poor choice of friends. It was one of the reasons we moved.

eeyoresgrumpierfriend Mon 16-May-16 13:13:21

It's a 2 form school. Slightly more boys than girls but almost all the girls are Autumn babies wheras DD is August so we already have some issues.

I think 13 is probably going to be a problem. Seems counter-intuitive to complain about class size being too small!

Cleo1303 Mon 16-May-16 13:35:03

If there are two forms, does that mean there will be 26 in total? If that is the case and they all do sport together and get to know one another I think it will be fine.

I'm assuming she is going into Reception?

QueenJuggler Mon 16-May-16 13:44:56

12 in my DDs class, 24 in her year. Never been a problem - I thought you were going to say only 5 or 6!

What's the split between boys/girls? And is there a parallel class?

almostthirty Mon 16-May-16 13:47:53

I have 10 in my class atm and that is as small as I would like to go. It does mean I can give each child completely individual learning experiences if needed and all get lots of 1:1 time (I also have a ft ta) that they wouldn't get in a large class. It can make team game in pe a little difficult though.

lavendersun Mon 16-May-16 13:51:09

15 in a class here and that is two years combined and it is really lovely. Nice happy place with no issues.

I think less than 9 or 10 might be a problem but not 13, and they might get another one or two between now and then.

Pico2 Mon 16-May-16 15:12:08

A friend's DD was in a small class of about 12, but only 3 girls. The problem was a cascade effect when one parent decided that there wasn't a sufficient peer group and moved their DD. So it's a risk that your DD might be the last one there.

mouldycheesefan Mon 16-May-16 15:13:16

I think it's too small.

Notthebumtroll Mon 16-May-16 15:15:07

I had 8 in a sixth form English class which was amazing. My confidence shot through the roof.

Maybe it's not the same for primary but I'd pay good money for that experience for any child!

Eastpoint Mon 16-May-16 15:17:30

I think it's too small. Dds class ended up as 13 & she felt quite isolated. By the time you discounted the children who had been in close social groups since birth there were only a few left & it was a poor experience.

WellTidy Mon 16-May-16 15:18:24

DS is in Year 3 and his class has ten children. At one stage it was 8. This is a very small independent school, and his class (one form entry) is unusually small. The other classes are around 13-16.

I like it, as does he. He likes the cosiness of it, and they are a tight knit class. They have their disagreements, but its completely manageable and nothing out of the ordinary for 8 year olds. The children at his school make good friends outside of their class too, as there is just one playground.

DS is slightly below average academically, and it also means he has lots of teacher time. For example, the teacher has longer to read with each child, can give them more time individually, check progress more frequently etc as she is not spread so thinly.

MyUsernameDoesntHaveNumbers Mon 16-May-16 15:24:34

My children went to a tiny village primary and had the best experience possible, it really was amazing for them.
Class sizes could have been as many as 15 but ranged year from year from 4 ( which was fantastic for my son) to 12. My children thrived but I know not all children would.

bluecarpet Mon 16-May-16 18:29:55

Main risk is that the school is struggling financially and might close

AuntieUrsula Mon 16-May-16 18:57:04

Is this going into Reception? If so, you may well find the class grows over time. Both my DDs started in classes of 13 that had risen to 18/20 by year 3 as new children joined. And I think it's at that age group that larger classes are more important - for the little ones the small groups are quite nice.

jo164 Mon 16-May-16 19:20:58

16 in my eldest daughter's class. Good half and half split boys and girls and no major issues so far - year 4. They team up with year 3 for Games so a decent number when it matters. Can't beat a class of 8 for Maths and English! Children come and go all the time in independent schools so it could be 20 again by September.

eurotrash Mon 16-May-16 22:28:36

Ds is in a class of 9, one form entry. 3 girls and 6 boys. It is often the case for small reception classes to grow to the max 20 by year 3.

Pros - lots of 1:1 time, reading every day, tight knit group, they have to learn to get along etc

Cons - small friendship pool, not so bad now but not great as they age, whole school in one playground - regular tears as the older boys have taken all the toys and done mean things, financial instability of school - always a constant worry, academically a bit stifling - you are always under watch. Def cascade effect, once 1 or 2 people leave due to financial status of school or due to class size/make up - everyone leaves!

Ds is 5.5 and has started asking why he doesn't have many friends and he wants to be in a big class with more going is financially precarious so we are moving him to a bigger school.

eurotrash Mon 16-May-16 22:31:19

Also small classes mean the teacher tends to teach to the middle ability as there is no need for grouping by ability. Ds teacher told us to move him as he will thrive better in a bigger environment. Where there maybe 5 or 6 equally bright children to challenge him rather than sitting on his own at the top in a small group - that said a lot to me.

luellabelle Mon 16-May-16 22:45:41

How old is your child? For reception and year 1 I would say it's ok but after that I think it's too small. My children are at different preps and both had 15 in reception. The youngest has 20 in year 1 and the eldest currently has 22 in year 5 but it has fluctuated between 15 in reception and the start of year 3 when quite a few did 7+ and 23 in year 4. In KS2 I really think that 20 is the optimum number especially in a co-ed school to ensure a sufficient pool of friends and for them to have peers working at similar levels as well as for proper teams

rainbowunicorn Mon 16-May-16 23:01:49

We are coming to the end of primary education, one child left with a year to go. I would never recommend a school with small classes. We have had many issues over the years due to there being only 10 in the year group at the beginning of primary now down to just 5. The class is a composite with the year below and even that only bring us to 15 children.

Cleo1303 Mon 16-May-16 23:17:39

I really think it depends on the number in the whole year group and how much time they spend together. If there is 20-something in the year and they all spend time together - sports and after school clubs - I really don't think there should be a problem.

fatowl Mon 16-May-16 23:26:12

I teach at a very small private school (9 in Y1, 8 in Y2, 12 in Y3 etc)
Secondary is slightly more per class (18-22)

I'm a governor at another private school.

I'd reiterate what someone else said about the financial stability of the school, most schools will work on a budget of having 20-22 per class.
We're all happy when we get another student , for class dynamics and we're one student closer to break even! (Sorry if that sounds mercenary)

That said, I'd worry about a class size that small for social reasons - it's an extremely small peer group

caitlinohara Tue 17-May-16 10:21:02

Ds2 is in a class not much bigger than that. It works for him. I worried that he would not find a friend in such a small group but actually it teaches kids to get along with people they maybe don't have much in common with, which is a valuable life skill. They HAVE to get along with each other if they have limited options! That's rural life in a nutshell! He moved from a class of 30 where on the face of it there were more kids like him, but as a group they didn't gel - there were 'gangs', bullying, kids left out etc etc and the NOISE!

From an academic point of view, he can't 'hide' in a class that size, which has been good for his confidence. In addition, kids from his school are known to do well when they move up to the next school, because they have had so many opportunities for speaking up and they are secure in their learning.

If you are worried about socialising, are there other opportunities for her to socialise outside school? My kids have friends they see at Cubs, friends they see at swimming, friends who are my friends' kids etc.

ShortbreadLover Thu 19-May-16 18:11:27

I think probably too small. DD is just coming to the end of Reception in a biggish pre-prep. Three form entry, 16 kids in each form. She is a sociable child but has only really clicked with 3/4 kids in her class. DD plays a lot at break with girls from another form, which is great and I'm glad she has that option. For Year 1 the three forms will be mixed up and I'm also happy about that! I think friendship groups would be very limited in a class of 13.

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