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Primary offer dilemma

(17 Posts)
Endlesslllove Fri 21-Apr-17 23:53:47

We got offered our second choice school and we're debating whether to join the waiting list for our first choice, it's driving me mad so I'll try to explain!
1st choice is our catchment school - ofsted outstanding, oversubscribed, highly regarded etc.
Second choice is lovely & small, intake of 12 per year so the small class sizes is v appealing - this is where we've been offered a place.
If we join the waiting list for 1st choice I think there's a good chance we'd get a place as we're at/near top of the list. But I'm not sure if I'm ready to lose our current offer (which we would if 1st choice became available).
The choice seemed fairly clear until this week and now I'm so muddled.
So the choice is between: biggish "outstanding" school with 45 children per year (1.5 intake), good facilities & clubs, excellent head teacher, but after school clubs oversubscribed.
Or tiny village school with lovely small classes, more informal setup, but probably less choice of friends and fewer clubs (although a good after school club which I think isn't oversubscribed).
I'm inclined to join the waiting list for 1st choice school, but I wonder if I'm mad to swap current offer with a class size of 12 in reception (and 24 thereafter) for classes of 45 at the "outstanding" school. The teaching & results seem better at 1st choice school but I wonder how good the learning can be with such big classes?
I think my daughter would get on fine in either school but interested to know from others the pros and cons of tiny school vs bigger primary. We'd have to drive to either school so distance not a factor. Thanks!

PatriciaHolm Sat 22-Apr-17 00:00:21

My first reaction is that 12 is a tiny social group. Much more chance of finding friends in a bigger group - an intake of 45 suggests split classes across reception and yr1.

almightygirl Sat 22-Apr-17 00:14:03

I agree, 12 is tiny. Ds1 has been in a class of 24 since nursery, in a one form school. He's now yr6 and, whilst he has a lovely group of friends, the whole class are fed up of each other! Since about halfway through yr 4, there have been a lot of issues with friendships - falling out etc. This is bound to happen in any school but I genuinely think that in his case they know each other too well. There hasn't been the opportunity to mix them up at all.

Also, you can accept the offer at your 2nd choice and still be in the waiting list for the other school. If a place comes up at your first choice, you wouldn't automatically lose your place at your second school.

venys Sat 22-Apr-17 00:23:41

What almightygirl said, still accept the offer and you will remain on waiting list for first choice as far as I understand it. (Literally just did this myself tonight). I actually went to a tiny school like the school you were offered. I think we got a good education - our years were split in each class so you.would get the younger children from say Year 2 mixed with older children from Year 1. I don't recall having an issue with friendships as such and it was easier for birthday parties - just invite everyone. It was probably harder on maybe a couple of less popular kids looking back. Not that this is something you can predict what is going to happen socially. It's because of my.experience with school that the thought of a class of 45 makes me shudder.

NennyNooNoo Sat 22-Apr-17 21:15:00

You won't have classes of 45! The legal maximum class size for the first 3 years at primary school is 30. They will either have about 22 or 23 per class i.e. Year group split across 2 classes or have mixed age group classes e.g. The more able children from one year go into a class with some from the year above.

Endlesslllove Sat 22-Apr-17 23:06:30

Thanks for all the replies. I need to go back to both schools asap to ask my last few questions I think.
If I remember rightly from the last visit, The one with the intake of 45 doubles up two year groups to make a group of 90 children (year 1&2) and then splits them into three groups of 30. The room sizes seemed huge, I think there were more than 30 in one room, with two teachers.

LotisBlue Sun 23-Apr-17 00:37:09

How far are these schools from you? From what you've said I'd prefer the bigger school, but made my choice on distance from home and gut feeling when we visited

ToughItOut Sun 23-Apr-17 00:40:49

I'd go for the smaller school. Having had experiences of both including the 'outstanding' primary with large classes I'd take the smaller school in a second.

Brokenbiscuit Sun 23-Apr-17 00:43:52

I'd go with the bigger school every time tbh.

DoNotBlameMeIVotedRemain Sun 23-Apr-17 11:28:22

No dilemma here. Accept second choice. Go on waiting list first. If you get offered a place by first choice from waiting list you'll have to decide whether to accept it at that point. You will not automatically lose the space you've accepted. That is secured for as long as you want.

TeenAndTween Sun 23-Apr-17 12:27:47

You will not automatically lose the space you've accepted

Not necessarily, I don't think. My memory from threads here is that some LAs operate an automatic assumption you want the waiting list place if they were a higher preference choice. Check this.

I'd go for the bigger school. Small seems great for your 4yo, not so great for your 9-11 yo.

Endlesslllove Sun 23-Apr-17 14:08:47

Yes, our LEA says that if a place comes up on your waiting list then you automatically lose the other place you'd been offered, because you can't hold two places at once. That's why I want to be sure before joining the waiting list!
Consensus seems to be that bigger is better overall so I'll probably join the waiting list and see what happens...

RedSkyAtNight Sun 23-Apr-17 18:31:59

Also be aware that funding is per child. I'd really worry about what a school with 24 children a class would be having to cut. also 45 children in a year group is really not big!

DoNotBlameMeIVotedRemain Sun 23-Apr-17 19:06:50

You can't hold two places no. So you'd need to decide but basically you hold one place, the second choice one. You then get told you are top of waiting list and a place has come available. At that point you say 'yes please' to first choice school and your place at second choice school is freed for someone else. You can say 'no thanks' to waiting list school and keep the one you've accepted. You don't lose it automatically they have to ask if you want the waiting list place.

smellyboot Sun 23-Apr-17 23:23:33

Round her most schools are 90-120 intake. I'd not go to a tiny school due to limitations

caroldecker Mon 24-Apr-17 00:31:11

There is little o no evidence that class sizes make a difference in educational achievement.

CrazedZombie Mon 24-Apr-17 07:17:30

I'd pick the bigger school for social reasons. Not uncommon for the proportion of girls to boys to be very biased one way and create problems. My dd was in a class of 7 girls, 23 boys and in our school there was a year when there were 3 bits and 27 girls. In a 12 person school, this could be even more extreme. Not a problem for girls/boys playing together in Reception but kids often choose friends from the same sex in latter years.

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