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Village or town primary school?(12 Posts)
I'm having last minute jitters about our primary application and whether to change the order of our choices. We like both schools but would welcome views on which factors are important and which aren't.
School 1 is a village school, admits 22 in 1 class. We live in nearby town, about 10 mins drive away although 75% of their numbers come from the town so we would have a reasonable chance of getting in.
School is an old building with mobile classrooms/work needing doing, not best facilities. Results are above average (potentially due to higher socio economic intake at start), ofsted is good.
School 2 is in the town but on the other side from us either about 25 mins walk or 5 mins in car. It admits 60, 2 class entry. It's a purpose built modern school with good facilities and feels light & airy. Results are average or slightly below (again could be due to make up of intake). Ofsted is good. Likely to know other families attending.
Both offer the afterschool clubs we need. Both have good feedback from existing parents.
So it's smaller class size/better results/slightly further away/old school vs bigger class size/average results/nearer/modern school.
I'd go for the town school. Being able to walk to school is a huge plus.
In this situation, having weighed up the major things and both schools coming out pretty evenly...
For me it would come down to the 'feel' of the school (atmosphere), the pastoral care, whether my friends favoured/had children in one of the schools, rather than the other. What I thought of the staff I had met when visiting etc.
A class of 22 is not really sustainable financially. Essentially this is 45 over two years, so do they mix up classes later on to get nearer 30 in a class? If the town parents are filling up your school, why is this? Do they not like the town school or, as happens around here, it is the SEN chidren who come out to the village schools for a smaller, and perceived, more protected environment? If the village school is only slightly better, but has more motivated parents, why is it not way better than the town school?
When you weighed everything up, where do you think your DC will fit in? Facilities are not everything and neither is class size. It is excellent teaching and leadership from the Head that counts for everything. How do they compare on that?
The village school used to be smaller and mix 2 year groups but now each year has 22, that has been their regular intake for a while. I don't think their classrooms can accommodate more.
Parents from the town who send their kids there generally believe there will be nicer kids at a village school or like the idea of a smaller class size. There is also a socio-economic element because unless you live in the village, you need a car to get there. Although a school that is in walking distance sounds ideal, realistically I'm not sure how often we would get the chance to walk anyway as will be dropping off/collecting to/from work most days.
Liked ethos and teachers we met at both schools. DS is quite shy so we did think initially he may thrive more at smaller school but now wonder if distance/knowing other friends/better facilities should be considered.
Town school every time. The range of opportunities, other children, other teachers will be much better. Like a previous poster said not sure how a school can be financially secure with classes of only 22 - suspect that they are doing a lot of joint year stuff. One (small) class entry can more boys than girls (or vice versa), and harder to find a friend that you might like.
The village school you are describe sounds very like the one in my village: one form intake, small classes, mixed years in some classes, older/listed building + mobile classroom (restricting class size) better than average results and high socio-econ. Most parents have at least an undergrad degree and many have further qualifications.
-small class/year size has been really hard for DD1 socially. When there are only 10 girls in a year and some are besties, the friendship options are limited. Additionally, it would be hard to avoid someone who was tormenting you.
-you might end up spending a lot of time in/traveling to that village b/c most of your DCs friends will be there.
-in a small school, there are not as many teachers to share the load of all the non-teaching extras and if one of them needs to go on leave it knocks a huge hole in the staffing compared to a larger school.
Bigger school. More of a chance of finding a friend similar to themselves.
My shy children had a horrible time at their small school as there just wasn't a large enough pool of friends. School themselves just told us, 'You will have to wait until he goes to Secondary where there are more children for him to choose from'.
Thanks all for your feedback, some good points to consider, definitely food for thought to discuss with DH
Bigger school for all the reasons mentioned
Bigger schools also tend to be able to offer more in the way of sports teams, music groups, clubs etc.
All other things being equal, I would go with a smaller more personal village school with higher standards. The facilities honestly don't matter all that much. Personal attention, quality of teaching and pastoral care is much more important. Mine goes to a small village school, 11 in reception, one class and it's been a lovely experience. We actually chose it over a school with better results because it was small and personal and the staff were so lovely. We've been very happy.