Large junior school (20:10 G/B ratio) OR small primary (8:20 G/B)????(6 Posts)
Schooling dilemma here. It's keeping me awake at night - any thoughts appreciated.
I have a DD in Year 2 at an infant school. I need to apply for a place for her next year. I have 2 main options:
1) 3 form entry junior school which the majority of her classmates will go to. The schools are not linked but there are no other separate infant and junior schools in the area. Junior school is not quite as well regarded as the infant school (a little disorganised, fluctuating results, some instances of bullying and poor behaviour). The girl/boy ratio is likely to be 20:10 (as in DD's class) which hasn't really been a problem for DD so far.
2) 1 form entry Catholic primary school with a 8:20 girl/boy ratio. There are 2 places as 2 pupils have just moved away. I know families who go to this school and they are all seem v happy and say that current Y2 class is a nice and settled, but they could do with a few more girls. Reports of no bullying, family feel, caring school. Excellent results. Shot up the ranks in last year or so.
The other option is a 3 form entry primary school but not walking distance and traffic can be a nightmare, so have ruled this out as I'm trying to reduce stress levels.
And the reason I am considering moving DD from the set formula of infant-junior school:
I have been a bit disappointed with my experience of DD's infant school. DD has been happy enough and doing well but I have found the social mix not great. Parents move house to get their children into this school and say that they would choose it over a private school. I am not really sure why, it just seems to me to be a badge of honour to get in. Most families are very affluent. We are not poor but we don't have nice cars, and the swagger. I have felt a bit isolated if I'm honest, and whilst some parents are nice, I've found some parents won't even engage with us so have kept myself to myself. I would say quite a few parents are in shutdown mode for fear of being judged. (I know I probably sound ridiculous but it's made me stressed and unhappy and I think it affects how calm and confident I am as a parent). But DD has been pretty happy, albeit sometimes a little entitled and boisterous (but this could just be a 6 year old phase). I reckon the junior school will be roughly the same. Teachers have all been lovely but I have felt that school takes advantage of reputation and it has sometimes felt stale.
I thought maybe a fresh start will be good. I have a DS who will be starting YR next Sept so they could both go to the primary school together. But then I heard about the high boy:girl ratio and it has really put me off. I really wanted it to work, but I fear that DD won't have a big pool of friends. I am thinking about her secondary school years too. She would probably end up in the same secondary from either school.
Do I just need to get a grip and stick with the junior school?
I think you need to concentrate on your DD and how she's getting on, not your adult relationships with other parents/ careers, which are not really relevant. But she has to change schools at the end of the school year, so you are sensible to look at all your options. My DD is in a boy heavy year , though the ratio is 12:18 girls: boys, so not as extreme. She is fine, and as her school has mixed year groups, has friends in other years too, which widens the potential number of friends. But you need to weigh possible lack of friends against the advantages you listed and your knowledge of your DD. I take it you met the entry criteria for the RC school?, from reading MN I understand these can be hard to meet, though have no experience of this personally. Good luck, neither of the 2 schools sound bad, so it is a good decision to have to make!
Personally, a Catholic education with only 8 other girls would be a red flag. Would your younger DS qualify for a place on a sibling rule or do you qualify on faith grounds? If not, a you happy about the religious aspect of the school?
As children get older, having a variety of friends and activities is important and definitely better prep for senior school. Speaking from personal experience, there are always parents you don't much care for. Where my children went to school (a C of E Junior school) it was the Churchgoers who "lorded" it above everyone else as they had a hotline to the Vicar and the Governing Body. If you can get to Friends events at the Junior School, you may find there are less affluent parents with whom you will gel. I think I was the affluent parent at our school and that gave me problems too! People are very quick to judge and will not take time to get to know you. However I do agree that your feelings are of less importance than those of your DD who would be separated from her friends.
There are advantages of larger schools. Often better music, orchestra, teachers with specialisms and a wider variety of skills, more variety of sport at a more competitive level etc. No least, more options for friends. As they get older, girls can fall out with each other. Having more girls available can be a blessing. I would transfer with everyone else, especially if your DD is happy and it is what she wants.
Having moved ds from a small primary to a much bigger one due to friendship issues, I wouldn't hesitate to go with the larger primary.
Thanks for the advice everyone. We will meet the entry criteria for the RC school, and we live incredibly close to it. I very much see that a larger pool of friends is beneficial, and that some parents I will find more approachable, and some not. I just have an inkling (or perhaps hope!) that the RC school will bring a calmness to family life as it seems discipline is stronger etc, and perhaps there is less competition between the girls. But I really don't know, the grass always seems greener. The other thing that has got me thinking is that the RC school has recently become one of the top primary schools in the country (according to some league table or another). All sounds great, but I just want DD to be happy and family life to be smooth. I'm tempted to send my DS to RC school anyway, as the school drop offs will be just as easy/hard as if he went to the separate infant school. Will keep mulling it over. Any other experiences would be appreciated.
I would always go with bigger school. There is another thread on big v small this week, so all same reasons. 6yr old girls be very boisterous so that probably just normal surely? My own DDs class is full of sporty, boisterous girls with tons of spirit.
I wouldn't like a school with just a tiny number of girls as further il it can be claustrophobic.
Having said that if they infant school is coasting and the RC school is fun and creative then maybe that could be better.
Have you actually visited both schools?
I visited and look at loads of schools and found big differences.
What league table is it?
Also find out how many at the RC school have extra tutoring...
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