Experience of large primary schools

(16 Posts)
JamMakingWannaBe Wed 05-Jun-19 21:57:25

DD starts P1 after the Summer (Scotland). There are going to be 100 children starting in P1 in a total school roll of 600.
That was the size of my secondary school!

I just can't get my head around how they manage that many young children and nurture their individual skills and address any issues they have. I've just been on the school tour and discovered it's 'open plan' too which also makes me nervous - only because there were 25 pupils in my own primary 'closed door' school.

Hand hold for PFB's Mum please!

OP’s posts: |
SavoyCabbage Wed 05-Jun-19 22:05:50

My dc went to a massive primary and I think big schools are the bees knees now.

Lots of adults with different interests and skills. Plenty of dc to make friends with. Not being stick with the same kids year after year. More facilities. Small schools often don’t have a Library for example. Ours had a library with a dedicated member of staff as well as a separate art room and music room.

My dc didn’t know they were in a big school. They just thought it was the norm. And in the long run it’s been so good for them.

GwenCooper81 Wed 05-Jun-19 22:11:15

753 on the roll at my child's primary. More than my elder child's Secondary!
It's fab. Exactly the same as the above poster. So many activities happening all the time. Two libraries. Art room, two halls, dedicated sports hall.. With extra staff running them.
My child is quite quiet and has never been overlooked or forgotten. Go for it.

clucky3 Wed 05-Jun-19 22:15:05

My DCs go to a massive primary school (90 per year) and it's fab. I had reservations about the size before they went but it's so lovely and they feel part of a great big family

Mumoftwoyoungkids Wed 05-Jun-19 22:20:51

It is very useful if they are at all unusual. For example very good at reading or struggling with holding a pencil or likes an unusual sport. (All of these apply / have applied to my kids.) Because there is a good chance that there will other kids who are just like them.

NellWilsonsWhiteHair Wed 05-Jun-19 22:23:47

I moved my DC from a two-form entry school to a three-form entry school (so about 90 kids per year group). It was due to the size that I never bothered even looking at the larger school when I was trying to decide where to send him. I was wrong - the size doesn’t stop it from feeling nurturing and like a place where every child is ‘seen’ and matters.

I think it’s required more effective delegation from the headteacher (no bad thing imo) than would be the case in a smaller school. My experience also echoes pp in terms of the available facilities - DS’ school has an art block, a decent music room, a sizeable garden, a food tech kitchen etc. I think facilities are far secondary to ethos/‘feel’ btw but assuming that’s all ok, these are nice things to have!

In a weird way it reminded me a bit of my (ridiculously busy, very very overstretched, London) GP, who in spite of having goodness knows how many patients on her books (and indeed sitting in the waiting room) would always remember me and ask after my mother and my sister: I expected to be anonymous and hard to recognise, but actually she knew exactly who I was and no doubt she knew her other thousand patients too, and that was a really reassuring feeling. I feel like that about DS’ school.

MummyItsallaboutyou Thu 06-Jun-19 04:00:50

My DC go to big schools. The infant school is 4 form intake with a bulge year in yr 2, so 5 classes. The junior school is 6 form intake, so 210 per year. (Largest 7-11 school in Europe) Having not experienced small schools, I have no comparison. I don't have any negatives related to size. Both schools offer so many extra curricular activities that probably wouldn't all be viable if the schools were smaller.


RhubarbAndMustard Thu 06-Jun-19 04:21:53

My DC is in a primary with a 5 class intake for his year. He's a sensitive little soul and I was really concerned about the size, but actually it's been great.

Larger schools generally have more provisions such as library, computer room, before and after school club, etc. He's never felt overwhelmed and it's helped him to be more confident in large groups.

It does help that the head teacher is fabulous.

emilycl Thu 06-Jun-19 14:31:50

There are some really good things about large primary schools.

One off costs, such as a decent library or sports field are much easier for a large primary school.

There will be much more variety in after school clubs. There will probably be school teams for the various sports as they will have enough children to fill them.

They are more likely to have provision for children far above or below the mean as they will simply have had more of them before.

It is in general much more likely that they would have seen another kid like your DC before. So they will have experience in how best to help your DC where in a small school they may be completely stumped if your child isn't completely average.

Hoppinggreen Thu 06-Jun-19 14:36:46

My dcs Primary has over 600 pupils
There’s always someone to play with if there are (inevitable)fall outs and somehow the school never feels huge. I might be the structure of the building with individual entrances for each classroom until Y 3 and then 2 years per floor with their own entrance too.
All 3 classes per year are built around a central area so the kids can mix and they also mix up the classes in Y3 and 5 so everyone seems to know everyone.
I went to a very small Primary and I much prefer my dc to be st a large one, plus if their Secondary is huge as so many are now the transition is easier

Wincher Thu 06-Jun-19 14:38:28

My children are at a 7-form entry primary, although split over two sites. There are definitely advantages - like others have said, they are big enough to be able to afford good specialist art and music teachers, they have great facilities, loads going on. My gripe with it is that because there are so many children to choose from, whenever they have trials for anything like dance, football, school play, talent contests etc the standard is incredibly high, which means that my son who loves dance and football is never good enough to get picked for anything. I do wish occasionally he could get picked for something in order to boost his self-confidence a bit.

Wincher Thu 06-Jun-19 14:40:12

Another advantage, though, is that they can split children into ability groups at a high level of granularity - for example reception phonics groups are taken from the whole year, so my youngest is in a group with kids at exactly the same stage as him. And (at least in theory) there is a big group of children to be friends with - if you are a bit unusual you are bound to find other similar types to get on with!

beachysandy81 Thu 06-Jun-19 14:42:55

At Primary I don't actually think it makes a huge amount of difference. My sons when to a big one of 4 classes each year. In the infant bit they were with the same class for 3 years. Therefore, it felt small and safe to them as they spent all their time with their class, except play times and lunch times which were staggered so they were never with everyone at once. My friend's daughter kept getting moved each year in infants with a 2 form class and she wished she had come to my son's bigger school.

When they reached Junior they mixed them around which was great preparation for Secondary School where they are now. It also means your child doesn't get stuck with a bully for the duration of their education as there are many others to play with.

MammaMia19 Thu 06-Jun-19 14:43:10

My dc goes to a large primary, all other schools have 30-60 kids per year and ours takes 90 per year. I think it’s better to have a large primary school as they mix the classes up every year, they will already be used to it for secondary. Also if there’s any issues with friendships it’s easily fixed when the classes get mixed up.
The provision for morning/after school clubs is better. They have a library and even did their sports day at a local sports centre because they get so much funding.

JamMakingWannaBe Thu 06-Jun-19 21:01:40

Thanks for all your responses. It's just so different to my own school experience but LO won't know any difference. You've all highlighted the positives so thanks again.

OP’s posts: |
Mumoftwoyoungkids Thu 06-Jun-19 21:28:25

I’ve thought of another advantage. There is currently a huge national shortage of head teachers. So there will be many schools without a head or with an “interim” head or sharing a head with another school.

This is much less likely to happen with a large school as pay is partly based on the size of a school.

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