Nurturing school or high-achieving school with great facilities for reception?

(24 Posts)
summerschoolsaga Sat 07-Jul-18 23:40:21

So we are moving to a new area and have been lucky enough to find two lovely schools with spaces for our four year old son.

One is a very small school with just three classes in, a typical village school which is very nurturing and very cosy. The playground is very small but they take the children out a lot and the focus is on fun.

The other school is a very large infant school - not sure how many classes but probably about nine. The grounds are beautiful set in the middle of a lovely setting. They have a swimming pool, forests adjoining the playground and a lovely outside playing area. However, from what I have been reading there is a huge focus on pushing the kids academically and it doesn't look as nurturing or friendly or fun as the other one. When we were visiting the school one of the teachers told us that teachers are not allowed to touch the children anymore - I am not sure if this is normal but at the other school we saw a child being cuddled so I suspect they do things differently.

We need to make a quick decision as there is only one space left at each and we are looking at houses. So we are trying to decide between large grounds and good results with amazing facilities or a small village school which focuses on nurturing and fun.

Our lovely son is a very gentle boy and I am totally confused - he is our first child starting school and so it is all new to us. Both schools feed into the same junior school later on.

Can anyone advise on what they feel would be better for an infant school or is it just preference? I am so confused!!

OP’s posts: |
Tomorrowillbeachicken Sat 07-Jul-18 23:50:21

I’m not a huge fan of too small but I find the fact that the teachers don’t touch the children worrying... to me that is very very odd indeed.

EyeDrops Sat 07-Jul-18 23:53:59

Nurturing and fun, without a doubt. Children's mental health is suffering at an earlier and earlier age - it's just not worth sacrificing that for 'high achieving', when the potential damage is lifelong.
Of course I'm not saying your child's mental health and happiness WILL suffer at the high achieving school. But I know where I'd want the focus to be for my child.

RideSallyRide76 Sat 07-Jul-18 23:55:15

I'd go for nurturing at the smaller school at this age. It sounds lovely.

MrsTeachy Sun 08-Jul-18 03:05:17

I'm a teacher and I would definitely say the nurturing fun one. When your child looks back on his early school days, he won't remember the pool or the state of the playground. He'll remember if he felt happy and had fun.
I work in a school with amazing facilities and the children don't appreciate them anyway!

MrsMrsMrsMrs Sun 08-Jul-18 03:14:14

Nurturing, also a teacher. You'll probably find the parents are nicer too 😬
My kids go to a very high achieving C of E Primary, pushy parents, very entitled kids and stressed teachers. My kids would be so much happier in a school like the first one you described. You're very lucky!

MrsTeachy Sun 08-Jul-18 03:47:15

Yes mrsmrsmrs! The parents are definitely a factor OP. Only you know your family, but do you want to be surrounded by competitive parents or laid back ones?


BikeRunSki Sun 08-Jul-18 04:18:30

Nurturing and fun - i’m Not a teacher, just a parent!!

Starface Sun 08-Jul-18 04:26:08

In terms of long term lifelong "high achievement", and more so "happiness", you will find that a solid emotional basis is much more predictive than "academic achievement" at infant school age. All these things are in quote marks because they are contested constructs and you need to ask what is really meant when people use those words.

Anyway, I'd also go small and nurturing at such an early stage. A good introduction to learning and the experience of school is so so important in setting a child's relationship with learning for life.

Bowerbird5 Sun 08-Jul-18 06:16:50

Nurturing small school.
I work in a school where we still hug our children if they fall over or if they just need a hug. When I was off ill I was surrounded when I returned with children hugging me. How would they have felt if I told them to stop or go away. We had a lovely, giggly group hug before the bell rang to go in.

user1499173618 Sun 08-Jul-18 06:42:15

I looked at both a tiny village school (4 classes) and a huge city school (37 classes) and chose the latter. I can say hands down it was the right choice for my DD.

LadyPeacock Sun 08-Jul-18 13:14:17

Small school for Infants (one form entry is not that small anyway).

OiWhoTookTheGoodNames Sun 08-Jul-18 14:49:51

Nurturing - especially with the amount my youngest falls over. She might fall over on an hourly basis but she's little and it still hurts and I want her to be somewhere that she'll get a gentle hug if it does so (normally she's very resilient and bounces)! Also her speech is very poor and a smaller school meant more of the staff were used to her speech (you get tuned into it after a while) and she was more widely understood (it's improved a lot but it was really really a problem back in September).

BubblesBuddy Sun 08-Jul-18 16:10:16

No one has given a thought to what progress the children make. Is the small one getting good progress from the children?

My children thrived in 2 and 3 form entry infant schools. They played the recorder, did plays, went on a residential and, most importantly, found friends. I never expected a teacher to cuddle my child at school! How times change! I just wanted mine to be happy and learn well. The larger school gave them far more opportunities then the small school others attended and they were far more mature as a result.

Parents can nurture and schools can nurture and teach but nurturing is not cuddling. It’s bringing out talent.

There are parents with high expectations everywhere! They don’t all congregate in one school where they whip the teachers into giving more and more homework and intensive lessons to improve phonics. Who really believes children are not happy at the vast majority of schools? They are. Plenty of village schools have the most competive parents ever judging by my neighbours!

Choose where you fit in and where your child will get the best opportunities to learn. Small can be nice but if can also be restrictive when there are few friends, no worthwhile sports, little music, no orchestra, and no drama.

tinytreefrog Sun 08-Jul-18 20:17:20

As it's only for infants I would go with the small school. Better that children have a fun and nurturing experience in the early years. If it was for juniors as well, then it might be different. They seem to need a larger friendship pool as they get older and tend to out grow very small school much sooner than a larger school.

You know your child best, go with what ever feels right for them.

Dd1 would have been totally overwhelmed by a large school in the early years, but could really have done with a larger one for the last couple of years of ks2. Dd2 is never fazed by anything and would actually have been fine wherever she went.

Kokeshi123 Mon 09-Jul-18 01:09:58

Can you talk with some parents who use both schools?

Hersetta427 Mon 09-Jul-18 12:13:09

Are they both infant schools or is one a primary school? What are the feeder junior schools like?

I find with small schools friendships can be a problem if there is a falling out (which they always do) so personally I would choose the 2nd option.

RedSkyLastNight Mon 09-Jul-18 12:17:09

Is the small school just an infants (so 1 class per year) or a primary (so mixed classes from 4-11.

The former sounds great; the latter is too small.

Caribbeanyesplease Mon 09-Jul-18 12:24:48

Impossible for us to know without knowing your child and much more about the school.

Is the small and nurturing one actually any good in terms of education?

What does the inspection report say about pastoral care at the big one?

I would personally go for the larger one with the facilities and results.

Very successful schools generally have good pastoral care. Why? Because the watchers are generally very high calibre and they understand that to being out the best in children there needs to be a more holistic approach, which involves good pastoral care.

Small and nurturing? Hmmm. All very easy to say that but it’s really feedback from parents and actual experience that will tell you whether actually nurturing

Caribbeanyesplease Mon 09-Jul-18 12:25:36

Watchers should read teachers

InDubiousBattle Mon 09-Jul-18 12:29:15

Is the smaller school 3 classes in total? So perhaps 60 dc maximum in the school?

sashh Mon 09-Jul-18 12:30:45


A new area is going to be a huge change and school is also a big change.

As long as he learns to read and write and is happy he'll be fine.

suitcaseofdreams Mon 09-Jul-18 12:39:00

If this is infants only and based on what you’ve said, I’d go with the smaller one. However, I would be looking closely at the options for Yr 3 onwards (ie the junior schools) locally
3 years flies by and you need to be sure there is a good option after the lovely little infant school.

LadyPeacock Mon 09-Jul-18 16:40:52

Dubious, 3 classes will be 90 dc, 30 in each, YR Y1 and Y2. Standard one form entry infants school.

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