1 form vs. 3 form help!!

(21 Posts)
belhamwalk Mon 26-Mar-18 10:35:31

hi guys, I'm trying to choose between a sweet little 1 form entry school which is a bit ramshackle and looks like it could do with a big injection of cash to update facilities etc and a big gleaming 3 form entry school which is ship-shape and bristol fashion.
My 5 year old son is currently at reception at the big school and we are thinking of moving him to the 1 form in spetmeber when he goes into year one. so there's that. i think he will be ok, he is quite outgoing. Also at the big school he is at he often says no-one will play with him and he doesn't seem to have made many friends.. he is a good kid so i think his teachers don't pay him too much attention because he is doing 'well.'
The 1 form has a very warm and lovely ethos about the whole child, does forest school, mindfulness mediation etc etc and everyone knows everyone and its got a great friendly atmosphere.
The 3 form is this turbo charged place, friendly but big, big on homework and tests and is a bit more anonymous.
basically I'm totally leaning towards the 1 form, it fits with our values more but then the big gleaming 3 form obviously has more provisions and is more diverse etc etc...
Any thoughts would be good

OP’s posts: |
Closetlibrarian Mon 26-Mar-18 10:43:57

What does your DS want to do?
And what would be the school run impact of the change in school?

CMOTDibbler Mon 26-Mar-18 10:52:31

I think if your ds is finding it hard to make friends, then that can be a lot harder in a small pool of children, especially as a late comer where both he and you are trying to break into established friendship groups

LetItGoToRuin Mon 26-Mar-18 10:54:31

Was the three-form school your first choice, or is the one-form school your preferred school and a place has only just come up?

Is his ‘only’ problem at the big school the fact that he says no-one will play with him, and the fact that he doesn’t seem to have made many friends? To be honest, that doesn’t seem much of a reason for moving schools. When my DD was in Reception and Y1 she sometimes said she had nobody to play with, but when I asked for a bit more info she revealed that nobody would play the thing SHE wanted to play. That’s entirely different!

It sounds like your child is at a good school. With a three-form year group there are so many more children to choose from.

My DD is in Y2 at a one-form entry primary, and I am already worried that she will struggle, stuck with such a small group of children for four more years!

twinone Mon 26-Mar-18 10:56:27

Bigger school every time.
I know too many children who have struggled in smaller schools to make friends.
Only when moving to the bigger high schools did friendship and school life get easier.

tumpymummy Mon 26-Mar-18 11:02:26

My kids went to a one form entry primary school and thrived, also in a slightly ramshackle school. What I really liked about the school is that everyone knows each other. You would be out somewhere and the older kids would talk to and interact with the little kids. However the most important thing for me was that we also lived near the school as did lots of other families. This really helped with play dates after school, particularly when kids were in years 5 & 6 and they could walk to school together and just hang out. Also really helped with school pick ups when kids were little and I could share with other parents nearby.

MerryMarigold Mon 26-Mar-18 11:07:26

I think certain kids are just not 'lots of friends' types. I have 3 kids, 2 of them just like to have 1 close friend. I'd go for the one that fits your ethos and also that you feel will prep him well for secondary. I know it's a long way, but say most of the kids in the 1 form school go privately or go to a different secondary from your catchment it wouldn't be good for your ds to move up with v small pool of kids.


RedSkyAtNight Mon 26-Mar-18 11:49:04

If he's struggling to find friends in a 3 form school, he really won't find it any easier in a 1 form school (fewer children!) unless there is a tangible reason why he's struggling (e.g. every other child is from the same sort of background and he isn't). I also think that 1 form seems great when they are little, but claustrophobic when they are older, so there's a reasonable chance if you move, you might want to move out again in a few years.

Chalk2000 Mon 26-Mar-18 11:55:27

We have a similar situation where we are. Larger school, with very slick modern facilies appears corporate strong on academics etc. Other school vibrant still has great facilies just not so modern and 1/2 form entry family feel and has more of a holistic ethos for the child.

We went for the smaller school as it felt more nurturing for our children. They can move onto the larger schools for secondary.

belhamwalk Mon 26-Mar-18 12:07:21

Thank you for your input- I may have put too much emphasis on him saying other kids won’t play with him.. it’s not just about that. He went to a small Montessori nursery which he completely thrived at! All the adults knew his name and he loved that, he is a total suck up to the teachers etc... also I believe in learning through play etc and (maybe wrongly) am not overly concerned about academics.... the schools are equidistant but the 1 form is up a steep hill so we’d probably end up driving in the morning and walking home.. which I’m sad about I enjoy walking him to school, fresh air etc... any more thoughts are welcome! Xxx

OP’s posts: |
Closetlibrarian Mon 26-Mar-18 13:14:45

AS far as I can tell ‘learning through play’ gets whittled away from Y1 onwards, regardless of the size of then school. DD is reception in a 1-form entry school and I get the impression that things get much more ‘serious’ next year. Which makes me sad because I too think learning should be play-based as long as possible.

MiaowTheCat Mon 26-Mar-18 14:14:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

belhamwalk Mon 26-Mar-18 18:26:05

miaowthecat thats very interesting! i think my son is similar, he is chatty and bright and i think they want all kids to 'toe the line' at the big school and maybe are more accommodating of a boisterous but well meaning kid at the smaller school. Also his brother will join him in 2 years time and i was thinking today: won't they have more of a chance to develop their relationship as 'brothers' in a small school where they will come across each other more often? they get along in general.. (atm...) x

OP’s posts: |
Harp1970 Wed 28-Mar-18 22:35:47

I teach in a tiny school. We have 44 children in the whole school. It is a lively, nurturing environment where everyone looks out for everyone else. The children genuinely look out for one another. They also have lots of varied opportunities. Every child has two terms of swimming every year, every child has forest school every week. We have choir, recorder ensemble, brass ensemble, theatre club, art and craft club, loads of trips , sports opportunities and exciting learning. Because I have reception, year 1 and year 2 in one class all children benefit from learning through play, exploring and first hand experience. Some children find it harder than others to socialise, some are happier to spend time alone. I would speak to the teacher and ask him or her to check up on your child. We invest a lot of time in sorting out children's issues at playtime, no matter his tribunal they seem. Children need to be happy whatever the size of school. They need to understand how to interact and often need help and support at playtime. I spend most play times supporting a small group who find it hard. Hope you sort it soon x

Harp1970 Wed 28-Mar-18 22:38:45

Hate predictive text. Meant to read " no matter how trivial they seem!"

Leeds2 Wed 28-Mar-18 23:02:39

I would much prefer the smaller school. Can you check out the cohort, just to see if there will be enough boys, as well as girls, for him to make friends with? And, if you do decide to move him, join the PTA and see if you can help raise money to help improve the facilities.

brilliotic Thu 29-Mar-18 16:23:33

I am totally different to the majority here in that I think smaller schools are great for friendships.
My friends' children go to a three-form school, that does NOT mean that they make friends between the forms. They don't even know the names of the children in the other classes in their year (except if they knew them already before starting; but even then, one of my friends' children has been split from his best friends in a class mix-up and now does not see them anymore). Let alone from other years - the school is just too big. So their 'friendship pool' is pretty much limited to 29.
Whereas DS at his one-form school knows nearly everyone at his school, and plays with children both older and younger than him, exchanges Christmas cards with his actual friends rather than with the people who happen to be in his class. So that would make a 'friendship pool' of about 209...

But actually I think the school size is a red herring here. You like the school ethos of the smaller school better. Everything else can be sorted. So if the school you liked better was a bigger school, you'd pay attention to the problems that can arise in big schools. Since the school you like better happens to be a smaller school, if you change, just make sure you keep an eye on the problems that might arise in smaller schools, and deal with them if and when they do arise.

FWIW from what you describe, I'd be moving. The focus on testing etc - it will only get worse. I'd move because of that, no matter if the new school was bigger or smaller or the same, and deal with school size/facilities when you get there. But then, that's a question of preferences.

belhamwalk Mon 02-Apr-18 17:19:57

Thank you Brilliotic what an insightful viewpoint. I think my mind is made up and I’m going to move him!! Xxx

OP’s posts: |
Habanero Tue 03-Apr-18 16:40:36

My dc have been at small schools: everyone knows everyone and they all get stuck into things together. It’s been fantastic: it’s very humane, and much less about processing children through the national curriculum than growing and developing a gaggle of young people. They get the results academically - it’s just that they manage to find the time for the kids to sit under a tree and stare at the clouds in the summer, as well.

ChocolateWombat Tue 03-Apr-18 20:39:55

Remember your DC will one day be a big 11 year old and what might seem great for a 5 year old doesn't always still suit later.

I've had a DC in a one form entry and then later in a 3 form entry. In my view, 3 form was better, certainly for junior age. As well as there being more children to mix with (and they did have English and Maths groups set across school, so they weren't always taught just with their class - so actually did mix with others) there were more children in each ability bracket, so that was good too. In small schools you might be one of only a couple of very bright or struggling children, which isn't always easy.

Larger means more teachers and usually more clubs as a result. It also means more money, which these days is pretty important when the funding crisis is biting deep - larger, with more children just probably gives schools a bit more flexibility about what to do with the cash and there will be some economies of scale to be had.

Larger means on the off chance that there is a major issue within a class, there is somewhere else to go (not likely to be needed, but it is a possibility).

In rural areas where schools are small, I know they can work brilliantly and am sure there are lots of real benefits to be had. Given a choice though, I'd go for the larger option.

Think again about the more laid back approach you've seen in the smaller school - might be lovely at 4, but is it what you want at 11....to be honest, they all have to up the anti pretty soon after reception anyway these days.

MrsPreston11 Wed 04-Apr-18 12:08:21

One form all day long.

My girls are at a 1 form and it's wonderful. I went to a 3 form (albeit 20+ years ago) so when we first looked round I did find it rather comical just how little it seems, but I really don't see many drawbacks compared to the benefits (which I guess could be down to the teaching staff, not the size, of course)

Every teacher knows every child's name, same with the kids, so even the year 6s say good morning littlePreston to my reception girl.

They are very inclusive, and each child is known personally by the teachers and I can tell that they so well supported. Just not sure it could be the same in a large school.

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